02.27.15

Comment Of Senator Patrick Leahy On House Leaders’ Refusal To Support A “Clean” Year-Long Homeland Security Budget Bill, Without Political Policy Riders

“The House’s refusal to pass a clean homeland security budget bill is beyond irresponsible.  It is foolhardy, and it is wasteful.  It shows no understanding of how this continuing uncertainty is affecting the daily lives of these hard-working DHS workers who protect us every day, in so many ways.  Vermont has more than 2500 dedicated federal homeland security workers who are affected by this.  This extends the uncertainty they face about meeting their next mortgage payments and paying their family bills.

“It is a failure of leadership by House leaders and by the obstructionist caucus that House leaders are coddling on this issue.”

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[Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) is a member of the Homeland Security Subcommittee of the Appropriations Committee – the panel that handles the Senate’s work in writing the annual DHS budget bill. The Senate Friday passed that bill, providing for full-year funding for the agency for Fiscal Year 2015 (Leahy voted for this).  House leaders Friday refused to support the Senate-passed bill.  Late Friday afternoon the House also failed to pass another stopgap three-week extension of current funding for the agency.  Funding for DHS runs out at Midnight.  Leahy also is the most senior Democratic member of the Judiciary Committee, which is the authorizing committee for many DHS sub-agencies and programs (for instance, immigration policy).  Leahy in 2013 steered the bipartisan immigration reform bill through the Judiciary Committee and then managed the bill on the Senate Floor, where it passed in a strong bipartisan vote.  House leaders ever since then have refused to allow a debate or vote on the immigration reform bill.]

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