Department of Homeland Security Fundingby Senator Charles E. Schumer
Posted on 2015-02-11
SCHUMER. Mr. President, we are running out of time until the
Department of Homeland Security shuts down, and the majority doesn't
seem to have any real plan to avoid it.
There are 17 days left--with a week of recess in between--until tens of thousands of DHS workers are furloughed, fire grants to local fire departments are no longer sent out, and training local first responders in handling terrorist attacks stops dead in its tracks. Yet each day comes with a new round of finger-pointing from Republicans eager to pass the buck to the other Chamber.
The distinguished majority leader, my friend, Senator McConnell, and my friend from Tennessee, Senator Alexander, and many other Republicans in this body have said it is time for the House majority to come up with a new plan. The House of course says it is the Senate majority that needs to act again. This morning Speaker Boehner, astoundingly, said the House would not pass another DHS bill. He is tied in such a knot he can't move, even though he knows his failure to move risks a government shutdown.
The House of course says it is the Senate majority that needs to act again, and yesterday the majority leader said the onus was now on the House to fund DHS. This morning the majority leader said the onus is now on the Senate. We have all kinds of Abbott and Costello behavior going on. The funny thing is the finger-pointing is not at the Democrats. They are pointing at each other as to who is to blame.
The American people are getting whiplash from listening to the Republican leadership on this issue. The Republicans need to sort out the divisions within their own caucus before they deflect any blame on Democrats, because while Democrats remain united in both Houses in support of a clean bill, the Republican majority is busy playing a game of hot potato with national security funding.
The disunity and delay has led a few Republicans to start talking about a continuing resolution that would guarantee another cliff and more brinkmanship and underfund DHS in the meantime. Delaying this same standoff by a few weeks or months isn't a very good plan B. It is hardly a plan at all.
Secretary Jeh Johnson described the CR for DHS this way: ``It's like going on a 300-mile trip with a five-gallon tank of gas.'' Let me give a few examples of why a Republican continuing resolution is a very poor plan B.