Democrats and Republicans are both to blame for the funding mess involving the Department of Homeland Security, says former Rep. Pete Hoekstra, who chaired the House Intelligence Committee.
"It all represents the total dysfunction in Washington on both the Republican and the Democrat sides of the aisle. The people that suffer are the American people," Hoekstra, a Michigan Republican, said Friday on "The Steve Malzberg Show" on Newsmax TV
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On Friday, the Senate passed a bill 68-31 to fund DHS through September. But the House is preparing its own bill to fund the agency for just three weeks as it tries to block President Barack Obama’s executive order on immigration, which is attached to the agency funding bill.
Time is of the essence for a House vote because Homeland Security funding ends at midnight.
Hoekstra said the GOP-controlled Congress has to keep its focus on Obama's immigration order, which would grant amnesty to millions of illegal aliens.
"As long as the debate is about the Department of Homeland Security funding, Republicans lose," Hoekstra said.
"If it’s about immigration and the president’s decisions that he’s made regarding immigration, that he’s made unilaterally, the Republicans have at least a shot of winning over the public in that debate. But they’ll never win the debate on Homeland Security."
Hoekstra said that even if there were a stalemate at midnight, Homeland Security would not suddenly cease operating.
"Seventy, 80, 90, percent of the department will keep functioning because they will be defined as essential services — so the Department of Homeland Security will not stop operating," he said.
"TSA will keep working. The border security will keep working, and all of those types of things. But before they go home this weekend, sometime this weekend they will pass most likely the three-week extension and this debate will continue on for three more weeks," Hoekstra said.
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