Congress has been praised by congressional lawmakers and President Obama after finally passing a bill to fund the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) for the fiscal quarter ending September 30th 2015. This bill removed the controversial attachments that would have rolled back the executive action taken by the president on the issue of immigration reform.
The attachments to the initial funding bill passed by the House of Representatives resulted in gridlock over funding until House speaker John Boehner stepped in at the eleventh hour and allowed a successful vote to pass a clean bill devoid of the attachments intended to stop US immigration reform. While some Republicans continue to blame Senate Democrats for the hold up for refusing to pass the version of the bill with the amendments, the Democrats continue to be unimpressed by the Republican Party’s attempt to hold national security funding hostage over a partisan issue.
Representative Luis Gutierrez of Illinois placed the blame for the near shutdown of the DHS firmly on the Republicans, describing the showdown as an “embarrassment”. “Let’s have a debate, let’s have disagreements, but let’s not allow Congress to toy with the pay-checks of border guards, airport security and national security professionals to score points,” he commented.
Gutierrez’s words were echoed by Representative Joaquin Castro of Texas, who said that the funding of an agency as vital as the Department of Homeland Security should never be used as “a vehicle for partisan attacks” and that the gridlock underscores the urgent need for immigration reform legislation.