WASHINGTON – Today, Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.), ranking member of the Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, released the following statement in response to the House approval of H.R. 240, a clean funding bill for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) for the rest of fiscal year 2015. Sen. Carper joined 67 of his Senate colleagues to support H.R. 240 last Friday.
His statement follows:
“Today, my colleagues in the House of Representatives did the right thing and gave the Department of Homeland Security the funding, certainty, and support it desperately needs. I thank Speaker Boehner for allowing a bipartisan vote on the Senate-passed fiscal year 2015 appropriation bill and ending this funding crisis for the Department of Homeland Security and the more than 200,000 men and women who work there. I also want to thank those employees for their patience during this trying period, and Secretary Johnson for his leadership and steadfast efforts to make sure the Department received the funding it needs and deserves. With this bill on its way to the President, the Department’s employees can now return their focus to how to best keep Americans safe from the persistent and evolving threats our nation faces, rather than planning for another stop-gap funding measure or worrying about how they will provide for their families during a shutdown.
“Now that Congress has done its job, it’s time to move on and address other critical issues for our nation and the Department. That includes passing cybersecurity information sharing legislation, confirming Russell Deyo as the Department’s Under Secretary for Management, and moving forward with our consideration of the Department’s Fiscal Year 2016 budget. At the same time, Congress should begin a badly-needed debate on a comprehensive and thoughtful 21st century immigration policy for our nation — a policy that is fair, that will significantly reduce the nation’s budget deficit, and that will strengthen the economic recovery now underway.
“Last Congress, two-thirds of the Senate came together and overwhelmingly passed a comprehensive immigration reform bill. It wasn’t perfect but it took significant steps to fix our badly broken and outdated immigration system, and to enhance the security of our borders. At the same time, the bill would have reduced our budget deficit by nearly $1 trillion over the next 20 years, according to the Congressional Budget Office. We need to show the American people that we can have this debate again and work together to solve what is one of the biggest challenges facing our country today.
“In closing, while I am relieved that the Department has funding for the rest of the fiscal year, Congress cannot continue to play games with the budget every time there’s a disagreement with the Administration. As we’ve seen time and time again, this kind of crisis budgeting is irresponsible, inefficient, and ineffective. It costs taxpayers millions of dollars in lost productivity, hiring freezes, and contracts that have to be renegotiated at higher costs. Moreover, it further degrades morale for employees across the federal government. This stop-gap approach to governing must end.
“American voters sent Congress a clear message on Election Day: they want us to work together and get things done that contribute to our economic recovery. We need to show Americans through our actions here in Washington that we hear them.”
Throughout this debate, Sen. Carper helped lead the call for a clean, full fiscal year 2015 funding bill for the Department of Homeland Security:
Time is Running Out to Fund the Department of Homeland Security (February 27, 2015)
The Clock is Ticking on Department of Homeland Security Funding (February 24, 2015)
Senator Carper Urges Colleagues to Support Clean, Full Year Funding for DHS (February 5, 2015)
Senator Carper Votes for FY15 Spending Bill (December 13, 2014)