Just two hours before the midnight deadline, Congress averted a shutdown of the Department of Homeland Security for one week ahead of another funding showdown on Friday.
The House approved the one-week extension of the funding with a vote of 357-60, sending the bill to President Obama for his signature.
With the extension, the DHS will not experience a shutdown tomorrow, although the bill does not resolve the impasse created when the House combined the agency’s budget with “riders” that would destroy the president’s immigration proposals. Some conservatives in the House have said that Obama’s executive actions toward immigration are unconstitutional and must be stopped at any cost, even a DHS funding lapse, NBC News reported.
[quote text_size=”small” author=”– Lucille Roybal-Allard” author_title=”California Democratic Representative”]
This has been a day of confusion both here in the House and for the men and women of the Department of Homeland Security.
The passage of the bill comes after a defeat for House Speaker John Boehner. The house did not pass a three-week funding extension when 52 Republicans and nearly all Democrats voted against the measure. Conservatives called it a stopgap bill that caved to the White House, while Democrats vowed they would not “bail out” Boehner by giving him the support.
Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi instructed House Democrats to back the one-week funding measure later on Friday night, saying they would have the chance to support a “clean” $40 billion one-year funding bill next Friday.
A shutdown of the DHS would have furloughed more than 30,000 of the agency’s 240,000 employees. Most employees of the Department of Homeland Security are considered too essential to the country’s security to be furloughed, so they would have been forced to work without pay, USA Today reported.
The departments affected include Customs and Border Protection, the Coast Guard, the Secret Service, the Transportation Security Administration and the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
The immigration debate will now continue into the next week. House Republicans hoped to use the DHS funding bill as leverage to stop the president’s executive orders on immigration, which were issued in November to protect nearly 4 million undocumented immigrants from deportation and give them the right to work in the United States legally, the Wall Street Journal reported.