Tags: Immigration | dhs | funding | congress | homeland security | immigration | bill

Politico: Homeland Security Funding No Longer a Priority

By    |   Wednesday, 28 January 2015 10:53 AM

The Department of Homeland Security's funding deadline, once deemed critical by House Republicans seeking to include immigration riders on the legislation to get it passed by Feb. 27, appears not to be the concern it was just a month ago.

Key GOP figures in the House are now saying that most of the department's 280,000 employees will still report to work, even if a funding bill is not passed in time, because their jobs are considered essential to national security, reports Politico

In the October 2013 government shutdown, some 85 percent of the DHS workers still reported to the job, even though they had to wait for paychecks, and the same would likely happen this time around.

But just after the November midterm elections, when Republicans took control of both chambers of Congress, they planned to fight President Barack Obama's executive actions on immigration, while vowing they would not let the DHS funding expire.

House Republicans this month did pass a bill that includes language aimed at eliminating Obama's action, but that language likely won't be included in the Senate's version.

The five immigration amendments in the House bill aimed to not only overturn the president's executive action but also to roll back four years of Obama's policies to shield illegal immigrants from deportation.

And House leaders say they won't put up a "clean" DHS funding bill, hoping that the Senate will include language to change part of Obama's actions, and warn that "a clean bill will not fly in the House." Further, aides say Republicans are hoping for White House intervention on immigration in hopes of avoiding a fight on DHS funding altogether.

On Tuesday, Senate Democrats called for a clean bill in hopes of stripping Republicans of the votes they would need for a funding measure that includes language on Obama's policies.

However, GOP sources said they expect a Senate bill with modest changes for immigration, including increased immigration enforcement and detention.

But as DHS workers will likely stay on the job even if a bill is not passed to keep their paychecks coming, the urgency of getting the funding bill passed, clean or not, is easing.

"In other words, it’s not the end of the world if we get to that time because the national security functions will not stop — whether it’s border security or a lot of other issues,"
Florida GOP Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart told Politico, while stressing the DHS funding deadline should be met.

There is also growing division among House Republicans on the immigration issue. More than two dozen House Republicans earlier this month said they opposed a measure to kill Obama's initiative for young undocumented immigrants, or "Dreamers."

The House is likely instead to move on immigration in parts, rather than as a total overhaul, with House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte, R-Virginia, noting his committee is working on the bills it filed last year, including separate enforcement programs for agriculture and high-skilled workers.

And a border security bill that was to be brought up this week in the House appears to be on hold until late February or March, with Republicans saying they don't want the bill on the floor until after the DHS deadline.

"I don’t want to do the vote until after Feb. 27," said Arizona Republican Rep. Matt Salmon, who opposes the border bill because he doesn't want it to "be some bargaining chip on something that I believe needs to be dealt with by the Senate first."

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The Department of Homeland Security's funding deadline, once deemed critical by House Republicans seeking to include immigration riders on the legislation to get it passed by Feb. 27, appears not to be the concern it was just a month ago.
dhs, funding, congress, homeland security, immigration, bill
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2015-53-28
Wednesday, 28 January 2015 10:53 AM
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