WASHINGTON – Today, Senator Tom Carper (D-Del.), Ranking Member of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, joined Sens. Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.), Vice Chairwoman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, and Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.), Ranking Member of the Appropriations Subcommittee on the Department of Homeland Security in a letter calling on Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to pass a clean full fiscal year funding bill for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).
“The consequences of failing to provide full fiscal year funding for the Department of Homeland Security are dramatic and dire,” Ranking Member Carper said. “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. I urge my colleagues in the Senate to join me in doing the right thing and support the passage of a clean, full-year appropriation for the Department. We must end the debilitating budget uncertainty facing the Department today, and show Americans that Congress hears them.”
“In light of recent events in Paris, Ottawa and Australia, the threat of ISIS and the proliferation of foreign fighters that return home radicalized, DHS funding should not be tied to divisive political issues that could jeopardize this critical funding,” the Senators wrote in their letter to McConnell.
The letter continued, “Every day, new threats emerge that endanger our citizens at home and our allies abroad. We should not cast doubt on future funding for the Department of Homeland Security at a time when the entire nation should be marshalling collective resources to defend against terrorism.”
In the letter, the Senators urged the Majority Leader to “immediately schedule a vote” on the clean, bipartisan compromise funding bill that House and Senate negotiators reached in December, which would fund DHS for the entire fiscal year. Homeland security funding supports DHS and its related agencies, including the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), Coast Guard, Secret Service, Transportation Security Administration (TSA), and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, among others.
The full text of the letter is available here and below:
Dear Majority Leader McConnell:
As we rapidly approach the date on which the Department of Homeland Security’s funding expires, and as law enforcement officials face major threats to our nation’s safety and security, we write with one simple request: work with us to pass a clean bill that funds Homeland Security for the remainder of the fiscal year.
The House bill cannot pass the Senate. Democratic Leader Harry Reid has called for a clean funding bill for the Department of Homeland Security. The President has also made clear that he will veto any bill that expressly limits his authority to exercise prosecutorial discretion on immigration matters. While we agree our current immigration system needs comprehensive reform, including border security enhancements, this appropriations bill is not the place for this debate.
In light of recent events in Paris, Ottawa and Australia, the threat of ISIS and the proliferation of foreign fighters that return home radicalized, DHS funding should not be tied to divisive political issues that could jeopardize this critical funding.
We are now four months into the fiscal year. A series of short-term continuing resolutions to fund DHS should be off the table. Secretary Jeh Johnson has noted that if DHS continues to operate on CRs, counterterrorism efforts will be limited, border security initiatives and grants to state and local law enforcement will go unfunded, and aviation security efforts will be hampered.
Every day, new threats emerge that endanger our citizens at home and our allies abroad. We should not cast doubt on future funding for the Department of Homeland Security at a time when the entire nation should be marshalling collective resources to defend against terrorism. Uncertainty undermines security.
Last December, House and Senate negotiators reached a bipartisan agreement on a bill to fund DHS for the entire fiscal year. The best way to provide certainty and stability for the men and women who fulfill DHS’s mission to protect the United States from harm is to immediately schedule a vote so that this compromise bill can become law.
We know that you share our desire to keep our nation safe in these dangerous times, and we thank you for considering our request.