WASHINGTON – Today, Senator Tom Carper (D-Del.), Ranking Member of the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, released the following statement following the House of Representative’s passage of the Fiscal Year 2015 Homeland Security Appropriations Bill (H.R. 240):
“Last week, the world watched in horror as terrorists massacred journalists and other innocent civilians in and around Paris. Last month, we were stunned as computers at a major corporation were attacked by North Korea. And over the past year, we’ve witnessed brutal executions at the hands of extremists abroad eager to strike us here at home. We know all too well that the threats faced by America and our allies are real. In order for the Department to efficiently and effectively carry out its critical role in combatting these threats, it needs adequate and reliable funding. To that end, I am pleased my colleagues in the House worked to pass a bill that would provide the Department with critically important funding through the end of the current fiscal year. Providing the Department with full-year funding is the fiscally-responsible step to take, and gives the Department the certainty it needs to engage in more efficient and effective planning.
“Unfortunately, instead of passing a straightforward, clean full-year funding bill for the Department, the House has sent the Senate a bill that includes a number of amendments aimed at undermining the President’s immigration policies. These amendments will unfortunately jeopardize passage of the bill and threaten to prolong the debilitating budget uncertainty facing the Department of Homeland Security. This development is particularly unfortunate in light of the fact that we have failed as a Congress – largely due to House inaction – to send the President comprehensive immigration reform legislation.
“The consequences of failing to provide full fiscal year funding for the Department are dramatic and dire. Such a failure would further degrade employee morale, hurt day-to-day operations, hinder the Department’s ability to plan for the future, and create inefficiency and uncertainty throughout its components. For example, it will hurt the Secret Service’s ability to hire and train new agents to protect candidates in the 2016 presidential election. It will also hurt border security by leaving the Department unable to upgrade its obsolete remote and mobile video surveillance systems in high-risk places, like the Rio Grande Valley. Disrupting the Department’s funding in such a manner is counterproductive and, moreover, endangers our national security.
“For these reasons, I urge my colleagues in the Senate to join me in doing the right thing and supporting passage of a clean, full-year appropriation for the Department of Homeland Security and rejecting the amendments approved by the House. I understand some of my Senate colleagues share House Republicans’ concerns with the President’s immigration policies. However, the Department of Homeland Security’s budget is not the place to air these concerns. American voters sent Congress a clear message on Election Day: they want us to work together and get things done. And given recent events around the world, they also want us to do all we can do to keep them and their families safe. We need to show Americans through our actions here in Washington that we hear them.”