The Democratic governor of a state that relies heavily on federal dollars says that Republicans in Congress should fund the U.S. Department of Homeland Security in full and avoid a shutdown or be prepared to pay the political consequences, Politico reports
"Every time these shutdowns happen, it really adversely affects the Republican Party," Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe, former chairman of the Democratic National Committee and co-chairman of Hillary Clinton's 2008 presidential campaign, said Friday at a conference hosted by Politico.
A shutdown of the Department of Homeland Security, whose funding runs out next Friday, Feb. 27, would be no different, said McAuliffe, whose state is home to the Pentagon, CIA headquarters, Arlington National Cemetery, the Marine Corps base and FBI Academy at Quantico, and a number of U.S. courthouses as well as Homeland Security field offices, among other federal installations.
McAuliffe said he was warned by Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson that a prolonged DHS closure could cost states billions of dollars, Politico reports.
The White House and congressional Republicans
are locked in a battle over the ageny's funding, which the latter want to limit in order to exclude President Barack Obama's executive order providing visas and work permits to millions of immigrants here illegally.
A CNN poll released on Wednesday found that most Americans, 53 percent, would blame Republicans in Congress for a shutdown of Homeland Security, while 30 percent would blame the White House.
Some GOP lawmakers on Capitol Hill
say the White House has "out-messaged" them on the funding dispute, even as an actual shutdown would leave most of the DHS up and running because the majority of its employees are deemed essential personnel.
Other Republicans say a federal judge in Texas, by halting the president's immigration overhaul, has just given Congress the political cover
it needs to pass a clean DHS funding bill without angering opponents of the president's amnesty program.
But some conservatives have questioned whether Republicans being blamed for a shutdown has any practical, electoral consequences for the party, noting the GOP trounced Democrats in the November midterm elections despite a larger government shutdown the year before.
"Hey listen, the government was slowed down … in 2013, and who lost? The president and the Democratic Party," Rep. Paul Gosar, Arizona Republican
, told Newsmax TV in December, when conservatives fought to strip immigration amnesty measures from the massive $1.1 trillion "cromnibus" spending bill.
They succeeded in limiting Homeland Security funding to Feb. 27, setting up the current battle.
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