WASHINGTON – The Homeland Security Department will continue to be funded until September of this year. That after Congress Tuesday approved a $40 billion homeland security spending measure despite the majority of Republicans voting against it.
Chautauqua County’s representative in Congress, Tom Reed (R-Corning), was one of 167 GOP members of the House who voted against the spending bill, that will keep homeland security programs operating for the remainder of the fiscal year. However, the Bill still had enough support from moderate Republicans and Democrats to pass by a vote of 257 to 167. All 182 Democrats present voted for the bill, while it received only 75 Republican “yes” votes.
The bill had already cleared the Senate prior to the House vote.
Reed was just one of two members of the NY congressional delegation to vote against the measure. Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-Long Island) was the only other member of the New York congressional delegation to vote no
On Monday, Reed had said the Senate should hold a simple majority vote on House legislation to defund President Barack Obama’s executive order protecting millions of undocumented immigrants from deportation.
“It is clear President Obama has overreached with his Executive Amnesty,” Reed stated. “In fact, 57 percent of the Senate, as demonstrated by the senators’ own votes, agree with holding the President accountable on this point. However, it seems the Senate has chosen to ignore the will of the people and fund the very executive amnesty action the Senate itself opposes.”
The Republican-controlled Senate had removed the House’s contentious immigration language from its bill because Majority Leader Mitch McConnell could not get the 60 votes needed for its passage.
There are 54 Republican senators, six short of the number needed to overcome a filibuster.
In the end, House members felt it was more important to keep Homeland Security up and running, rather than hold it hostage in order to fight the president’s amnesty order regarding immigration. As a result, it approved a spending bill on Tuesday that didn’t include any of the immigration-related concessions they demanded for months.
“I am as outraged and frustrated as you at the lawless and unconstitutional actions of this president,” House Speaker Boehner told his GOP caucus prior to the vote, admitting they were out of options. “I believe this decision — considering where we are — is the right one for this team, and the right one for this country.”
The measure passed Tuesday funds the Homeland Security Department through the Sept. 30 end of the budget year. It pays for numerous priorities including Transportation Security agents, the Coast Guard, the Secret Service, a host of immigration-related functions and grants to local governments.
Last week, the Senate and House agreed to a one-week stopgap funding measure for the Homeland Security Department after Senate Republicans were unable to advance a House-passed bill that would have defunded Obama’s executive action on immigration.