President Barack Obama warned Monday that states will feel the pain of a Homeland Security Department shutdown if Congress can’t break an impasse by week’s end. But on Capitol Hill, no solution was in sight.
“It will have a direct impact on your economy, and it will have a direct impact on America’s national security,” Obama told the nation’s governors as they visited the White House as part of their annual conference. With tens of thousands of workers in line to be furloughed if the agency shuts down at midnight Friday, and many more forced to work without pay, the president cast the standoff in starkly economic terms.
The president’s words appeared to have little impact on Capitol Hill, where Senate Republicans lined up a fourth procedural vote on House-passed legislation that funds the Homeland Security Department through the Sept. 30 end of the budget year, while also rolling back Obama’s executive actions granting work permits to millions of immigrants in this country illegally.
The stalemate on Capitol Hill also appeared unchanged by a federal judge’s ruling last week that said Obama’s executive actions exceeded his authority and put them on hold just as the first wave of immigrants, tens of thousands brought here illegally as children, were to begin applying for work permits and deportation deferrals.
The Obama administration on Monday asked U.S. District Judge Andrew Hanen in Brownsville, Texas, to put his ruling on hold and filed a notice of appeal of his ruling to the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans.
A short-term extension of current funding levels remained possible, but lawmakers had only a few days to come up with even that partial solution before the agency’s funding expires.
A Homeland Security shutdown would result in some 30,000 administrative and other workers getting furloughed. Some 200,000 others would fall into essential categories and stay on the job at agencies like the Border Patrol, Secret Service and Transportation Security Administration, though mostly without drawing a paycheck until the situation is resolved.