06.30.20

Leahy Calls On Leader McConnell And President Trump To Pass Emergency Funding For USCIS

WASHINGTON (MONDAY, June 29, 2020) – Senate Appropriations Committee Vice Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) Monday called on Leader McConnell and President Trump to take up and pass emergency funding for the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).  Due to financial mismanagement and poor policy choices by the Trump administration and the COVID-19 pandemic, USCIS could be forced to furlough a significant number of its employees, including some of the 1,700 USCIS employees in Vermont.  

In a letter to the White House Office of Management and Budget, Leahy wrote: “Despite numerous calls from myself and Democratic leadership in the Senate, the White House and the Republican Majority refuse to move forward on a fourth coronavirus emergency supplemental appropriations bill where we could address this and other critical issues caused by the coronavirus pandemic. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has publicly stated that he and the White House want to take a ‘pause’ before considering any further emergency legislation related to COVID-19, and has given no indication when that pause would end. This is irresponsible. Taking a ‘wait and see’ approach will only exacerbate the devastating effects of this pandemic, hurt the American people, and weaken our economy.”

The USCIS is funded through fees that have dramatically decreased because of the COVID-19 pandemic.  Without intervention by Congress through emergency appropriations the USCIS could run out of funding and be forced to furlough some of its 19,000 employees as soon as this week.  Regrettably, USCIS began sending out furlough notices on June 26.  For more than six weeks, Leader McConnell and Senate Republicans have refused to take up emergency legislation to address the pandemic.

Leahy’s full letter is available here: https://www.appropriations.senate.gov/download/202006023-vought_uscis-letter

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