by Jim Nintzel
The Department of Homeland Security is moving closer to a shutdown, meaning Southern Arizona Border Patrol agents and other DHS employees will be expected to work for vouchers or be furloughed. Talking Points Memo reports:
House Republican leaders are refusing to support legislation that funds the Department of Homeland Security without imposing immigration policy restrictions, a sign that the department is headed for a partial shutdown Friday night.
The legislation is all but guaranteed to pass the Senate, where Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) have championed it in an agreement to bring up immigration bills separately. Even conservative firebrand Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) has signaled he won't hold up the "clean" DHS bill ahead of the Friday midnight deadline to avert a shutdown.
But in the House, it's a very different story. Speaker John Boehner (R-OH), facing a rebellion from his members, isn't ready to swallow the standalone DHS bill just yet, and is exploring options to continue fighting President Barack Obama's initiatives on immigration.
"We want to stop the president's immigration actions with regard to immigration," Boehner told reporters Thursday. "It's outrageous that Senate Democrats are using Homeland Security funding for blackmail to protect the actions of the president. ... We're waiting to see what the Senate can or can't do, and then we're going to make decisions about how to proceed."
Among members of Arizona's Southern Arizona congressional delegation, Democrats Raul Grijalva and Ann Kirkpatrick support a clean funding bill without amendments targeting the Obama administration's recent executive actions on immigration, while Republican Martha McSally has declined to say whether she supports a clean funding bill. McSally voted to attach the amendments to the bill, but wrote in the USA Today yesterday that the Homeland Security funding shouldn't be attached to the fight against the expanded program to shield up to 5 million undocumented immigrants from deportation. But she also declined to tell the Weekly if she would support a clean funding bill.