Homeland Security shutdown looms

Homeland SecurityFunding for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) runs out on Friday and a partial shutdown of the agency is looming. Democrats and Republicans in the Senate are still locked in a standoff over the attempt to use attachments to the funding bill to block and reverse executive actions taken by President Obama on the contentious issue of US immigration reform.

A fourth attempt at passing the bill in the Senate will be made today; however, Democrats are almost certain to block this attempt, as they have blocked the first three attempts. Yesterday Obama warned governors that the economy and the security of the United States would be impacted by any shutdown. “These are folks who, if they don’t have a paycheck, are not going to be able to spend that money in your states,” National Governors Association members were told by the president at the White House. “It will have a direct impact on your economy, and it will have a direct impact on America’s national security, because their hard work helps to keep us safe.”

Jeh Johnson, the secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, says that between 75% and 80% of DHS employees would be forced to work without pay in the event of a shutdown, including members of the Coast Guard and Border Patrol; meanwhile, 30,000 employees, including headquarters staff, would have to be furloughed.

While leaders of the Republican Party are trying to pin the blame on the Democrats for refusing to pass the loaded funding/anti-immigration bill, some Republicans are skeptical. Senator Lindsey Graham says that the Republicans will get the blame if the DHS shuts down.