Republican leaders in Congress seemed to be on a denial mode in giving up a bill that intends to provide funding for US Department of Homeland Security (DHS), which will run out of money in February this year, seeking to block President Barack Obama’s executive actions on immigration, even though it not succeeded in clearing a Senate procedural hurdle for the third straight day.
Soon after rivals Democrats obstructed the funding bill from gaining the 60 votes required to advance on Thursday, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell brought a move for keeping the bill alive for tabling it again for more votes in the upcoming days.
Congress is facing a deadline on February 27 for renewing the spending authority for the Homeland Security Department, which spearheads domestic efforts to counter terrorism and secures the country’s borders, highly crowded places like airports and coastal waters.
Although the DHS would be able to carry out many of its critical protective functions after the funding lapses, the federal agency would be forced to keep on hold its nearly 30,000 employees, i.e. 15 percent of its workforce. These depressing developments come at a time when the terrorist attacks and other forms of violence are at the peak.
The inability of the new Republican majority in the Senate to pass the measure has agitated Republicans in the House of Representatives, who have passed the bill in January with provisions blocking spending for implementation of Obama’s executive orders over lifting the deportation threat for thousands of undocumented immigrants in the country.
Obama, who has threatened to veto the measures passed by the House, and his party members in the Democratic party are demanding a “clean” DHS bill without any immigration restrictions.