A band of Republican lawmakers on Thursday threatened to cut off funding for the Department of Homeland Security unless President Joe Biden ousts one of his cabinet secretaries, adopts GOP border legislation that would curtail asylum claims by migrants or makes other border changes.
(Bloomberg) — A band of Republican lawmakers on Thursday threatened to cut off funding for the Department of Homeland Security unless President Joe Biden ousts one of his cabinet secretaries, adopts GOP border legislation that would curtail asylum claims by migrants or makes other border changes.
The letter signed by 15 House Republicans, all from Texas, raises the possibility of a shutdown of the cabinet department as soon as Oct. 1.
Essential workers like customs and border, Transportation Security Administration and Secret Service agents as well as Coast Guard personnel would work without pay in that scenario while so-called non-essential personnel would be sent home for the duration of the shutdown.
The group has considerable leverage if most of its members stick to their demands because of House Speaker Kevin McCarthy’s tenuous grip on power.
Under rules changes enacted earlier this year, McCarthy could face a no-confidence vote from his own party should he fail to meet the demands of conservatives. Putting a stopgap funding measure on the floor that includes Homeland Security funds without the changes could mean his downfall.
“Simply put, no member of Congress should agree to fund a federal agency at war with his state and people,” the letter organized by Texas Republican Chip Roy.
The letter sets out a list of four demands and makes clear that neither stopgap nor full year funds should be permitted unless some of them are met. The demands include the resignation, firing or withholding the pay of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas; signing a partisan Republican border bill that increases enforcement and curtails the ability of migrants to claim asylum in the US; new tools for border enforcement; and $10 billion in funds to reimburse Texas for its own border security spending.
The White House has threatened to veto the House-passed border bill and has shown no willingness to fire Mayorkas or reimburse Texas.
US Customs and Border Protection reported 144,571 encounters on the southern border in June, the lowest monthly number since February 2021, one month after Biden took office. That’s despite worries of a surge of border-crossing migrants after the end of pandemic-era restrictions in May.
–With assistance from Gregory Korte.
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