How will the Homeland Security funding bill play out? If it’s up to the Senate Democrats, the $40 billion House-passed spending bill won’t go anywhere. It’s not the spending that is the issue; it is what is attached to it that has Senate Democrats up in arms. Specifically, if the spending bill is passed, legal protection for more than 4 million undocumented immigrants will be revoked.
Obama’s Unilateral Immigration Bill under Fire
Democrats state that President Obama had promised a veto of any legislation regarding the legal protection of illegal immigrants, as it would undermine his recent executive immigration actions. Last fall, Obama announced that he would temporarily defer deportations for the millions of immigrants who are living illegally in the U.S.
On the other side, the Republicans blame the Democrats for using what they called a “procedural maneuver” to block the bill from hitting the Senate floor.
So now there’s a showdown, but there’s not a lot of time to waste. The Department of Homeland Security will run out of money by the end of February.
Finding a Solution to an Impending Problem
Congressional Republicans must now scramble to fund the department while they argue that Obama has overstepped his constitutional authority. The Homeland Security Bill is, perhaps, providing with the only leverage they have to fight back.
House Speaker John Boehner said that he was taking steps by pursuing possible litigation over the president’s recent immigration actions, a move he said may help pass a clean funding bill.
Another possible option may include passing a short-term funding extension and putting the showdown on hold for a few months, thereby saving the department from shutting down at the end of the month.
President Obama appealed to the department, warning that allowing the agency to run out of money would put thousands of employees out of work and without a paycheck, from members of the Coast Guard to airport screeners and immigration officers.