The nation’s governors will shortly endorse a resolution that calls on Congress to fund the Department of Homeland Security but won’t specify what amount that funding should be, sources at the National Governors Association meeting in Washington DC told Newsmax Saturday.
The decision to endorse a resolution in general terms emerged on Saturday afternoon, sources disclosed at a closed-door governors-only luncheon at the J.W. Marriott Hotel.
The governors' plan to weigh in on the issue of DHS funding comes at a time when the Obama Administration repeatedly slams the Republican-controlled House for failing to fully fund the department. GOP lawmakers counter that their appropriations measure denies funding only to those [DHS] employees hired to carry out the president's executive orders that bar an estimated 4.3 million illegal immigrants from deportation.
House Republicans claimed an early victory in their clash with the White House last week after a federal judge ruled against the executive orders dealing with immigration. House Republican Policy Committee Chairman Luke Messer, R.-Ind., told Newsmax that action on funding for DHS was now in the hands of the Senate where, in his words, "Senate Democrats are refusing to debate, refusing to offer amendments, and refusing to allow the proposal to come to a vote."
"We had a big discussion over lunch on immigration in general and it soon digressed to DHS," Republican Gov. Jack Dalrymple of North Dakota told Newsmax shortly after the luncheon with fellow state chief executives, "It was pretty wide-ranging, and many of us wondered why we wouldn’t have a resolution on this. What are we supposed to do?"
The governors then decided, Dalyrmple explained, "a general resolution was a good idea. We felt DHS should be funded." As to whether there was discussion of whether to fund all sections of the department except those dealing with the President’s orders or to fund the entire department, the North Dakotan replied: "We didn’t get into it."
The "general resolution" described by Dalrymple and expected to be passed by the governors on Monday clearly ducks a very sharp split on the DHS funding among Republican and Democratic governors.
Republican Gov. Scott Walker of Wisconsin, for example, told Newsmax that any appropriations measure that funds the Department of Homeland Security "must acknowledge the constitution and avoid overstepping on the issue of illegal immigration." Likely 2016 presidential hopeful Walker went on to say that he agrees with House Republicans that they have done their job in partially funding DHS and "the rest is now up to the Senate."
"Scott Walker can come to the defense of that do-nothing crew in congress who don’t want government to work," Vermont’s Democratic Gov. Peter Shumlin told us a few minutes later, "but I have very little patience with those kinds of games."
Shumlin added that "next week, the folks that we count on to keep Vermont safe and protect our interests will not be." When we asked just how many would not be paid, he replied: "I don’t know. We’ll find out how many."
John Gizzi is chief political columnist and White House correspondent for Newsmax.
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