الثلاثاء , يونيو 16 2020

Duelling bills as US shutdown looms

Rep. Walter B. Jones, R-N.C., holds up a copy of the Constitution while talking to reporters as House Republicans emerge from a closed-door meeting on how to deal with the impasse over the Homeland Security budget, at the Capitol in Washington 26 February 2015Republican Representative Walter Jones holds up a copy of US Constitution while talking to reporters

The Senate has passed full funding for homeland security shortly after the House planned its own short-term version as a shutdown deadline looms.

House Republicans are seeking to continue a fight to stop to President Barack Obama’s immigration policies.

The House version extends the agency’s $40bn (£26bn) budget for three weeks.

If neither bill is passed in both chambers and signed by Mr Obama, a partial government shutdown starts after midnight on Saturday.

About 200,000 department employees, including border and airport security agents, will continue to work without pay if the agency does not have funding.

“The House must pass this bill in short order to keep the lights on at the Department of Homeland Security in the near term,” said Republican Representative Harold Rogers.

“Hopefully, this will buy us this additional time that we clearly need.”

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Department of Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson (C) and former Homeland Security secretaries Michael Chertoff (R) and Tom Ridge (L) speak to reporters  in Washington 25 February 2015Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson is flanked by two former agency secretaries as he called for full funding

Effects of a Homeland Security shutdown

  • Airport security agents required to work without pay
  • Employers would not have the ability to use a programme called E-Verify to check if new hires are authorised to work legally in the US
  • No grants made to local and state authorities, including for training and new equipment
  • Secret Service will not be able to hire agents to protect 2016 presidential candidates
  • Civil rights and civil liberties complaint lines and investigations will be shut down

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Some Republicans sought to use the homeland security department funding, which includes immigration officials, as a bargaining chip to force President Barack Obama to end a set of policies on immigration.

Mr Obama used his executive powers to protect about five million undocumented immigrants from deportation. Republicans say Mr Obama overstepped his powers in doing so.

A separate ruling by a federal judge has blocked those policies from starting while a lawsuit by more than two dozen states goes forward.

US. President Barack Obama (R) participates in the taping of an MSNBC/Telemundo town hall discussion on immigration with host Jose Diaz-Balart (L) at Florida International University in Miami, 25 February 2015Mr Obama held a town hall on immigration on Wednesday

Meanwhile, the Senate has passed a bill to fully fund the homeland security department through the budget year.

Despite having no provisions against Mr Obama’s immigration polices, the measure passed 68-31.

Some Republicans senators have expressed a desire to fight the execution actions in the courts, rather than threaten the department’s funding.

Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson urged Congress on Thursday to pass full funding.

“A short-term continuing resolution exacerbates the uncertainty for my workforce and puts us back in the same position, on the brink of a shutdown just days from now,” Mr Johnson said.



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Will undocumented people come forward amid uncertainty?

The White House has said Mr Obama would prefer a full funding bill but would sign a short-term measure to prevent a shutdown.

But House Democrats are opposing the measure and Mr Obama has said he will veto any bill that affects immigration.

Other House Republicans said they would also not support a short-term bill.

“I am not going to vote under any circumstances to fund illegal conduct,” said Representative Mo Brooks. “It does not make any difference whether the funding is for three weeks, three months or a full fiscal year. If it’s illegal, it’s illegal.”

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