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Jeanne S.
Democrat NH

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  • Department of Homeland Security Appropriations Act, 2015—Motion to Proceed—Continued

    by Senator Jeanne Shaheen

    Posted on 2015-02-03

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    SHAHEEN. Mr. President, as we begin this debate on funding for the Department of Homeland Security, we face some fundamental questions: Are we going to prioritize the safety and security of the American people? Or are we going to put the country at risk because of an ideological disagreement? That is the choice I believe we face with this bill. We can either pass a clean bill that makes critical investments in our Nation's security or we can put this country at risk by playing politics with the funding for the Department of Homeland Security.

    We all know these are dangerous times that we live in. Every day, new threats emerge that endanger our citizens at home and our allies abroad. The Department of Homeland Security's role in protecting our country from these threats cannot be overstated, and its funding should not be controversial.

    Right now, the U.S. law enforcement community is on high alert for terror threats after attacks in Sydney, Australia, and Ottawa, Canada, and in Paris. Just 2 weeks ago, an Ohio man was arrested when authorities discovered he was plotting to blow up the U.S. Capitol in an ISIS-inspired plan. I believe, as the Presiding Officer understands, the man was from Ohio.

    ISIS has thousands of foreign fighters, including Americans, among their ranks who seek to return to their home countries to do harm--not to mention the barbarity of ISIS today in killing the Jordanian pilot whom they had in their custody.

    These are very real threats--a clear and present danger to the homeland--and because they are so real, we need our counterterrorism intelligence community operating at full strength. We need the entire Department of Homeland Security fully engaged in keeping our Nation safe.

    Last week, President Bush's two Homeland Security Secretaries, Tom Ridge and Michael Chertoff, joined former DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano in a letter to Congress. The three of them wrote: The national security role that the Department of Homeland Security plays . . . is critical to ensuring that our nation is safe from harm. . . . It is imperative that we ensure that DHS is ready, willing, and able to protect the American people . . . we urge you not to risk funding for the operations that protect every American and pass a clean DHS funding bill.

    All three former Secretaries--two of whom served under a Republican President and one under a Democratic President--are warning us that the safety and security of our Nation are at risk if we hold up funding for Homeland Security operations.

    Anything short of passing a clean funding bill will endanger important security operations and could very well put our citizens at risk. But because of the anti-immigration riders that have been attached by House Republicans, the bill we are about to vote on cannot become law. Senate Democrats are not going to support it. The President has already said he will veto it. And, furthermore, according to the nonpartisan [[Page S721]] Congressional Budget Office, the bill also adds $7.5 billion to the deficit.

    Last week, Senator Mikulski and I introduced a clean bill that is modeled after the bicameral, bipartisan agreement that was negotiated last December by Senator Mikulski, who was then chair of the Senate Appropriations Committee, and Congressman Hal Rogers, then chair of the House Appropriations Committee. The bipartisan bill negotiated by Senator Mikulski and Congressman Rogers is a good bill. It is in line with the Murray-Ryan budget deal. It will help keep our Nation safe and secure, funding key counterterrorism, intelligence, and law enforcement activities, and will also strengthen the protections on our borders.

    So our position on this issue is clear: Congress needs to pass a clean, full-year funding bill without any controversial immigration riders that are not going to be able to gain support, that the President has already said he is going to veto. It is that simple. There is too much at stake for the security of our Nation to play politics with this bill.

    Before I conclude, I would note again that the House-passed Department of Homeland Security funding bill includes several immigration-related provisions that draw budget points of order against the bill. According to the Congressional Budget Office, the immigration-related provisions would increase the deficit by $7.5 billion over 10 years. In addition, the bill includes language relating to the budgetary treatment of these provisions. The result is multiple points of order that would not apply to the bill if the immigration provisions had not been added.

    Mr. President, I have a parliamentary inquiry: Does a budget point of order lie against H.R. 240 pursuant to section 311(a)(2)(B) of the Congressional Budget Act of 1974? The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Chair is advised that the point of order lies.

    Mrs. SHAHEEN. Does a budget point of order lie against the bill pursuant to section 311(a)(3) of the Congressional Budget Act of 1974? The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Chair is advised that the point of order does lie.

    Mrs. SHAHEEN. And does a budget point of order lie against the bill pursuant to section 306 of the Congressional Budget Act of 1974? The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Chair is advised again that the budget point of order does lie.

    Mrs. SHAHEEN. Thank you very much, Mr. President.

    I yield the floor.

    The PRESIDING OFFICER. Who seeks recognition? The Senator from North Dakota.

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