Visits Southern Border Just Weeks Away From DHS Shutdown He’s Encouraging
As Ron Johnson and the Republican Senate majority inch closer to a shutdown of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) with no plan to keep the agency operating, Johnson hypocritically continues to talk about border security and even visited the southern border this weekend. According to a release from Johnson’s office, the trip was intended to “observe an unmanned aircraft system (UAS) operation and view aerostats, visit a port of entry, tour a Border Patrol station” among other things.
A DHS shutdown would leave the very border agents Johnson met working without pay and it would jeopardize the funding for the development of technologies used to secure the border.
“Maybe the irony is lost on Ron Johnson since he doesn’t think a DHS shutdown would hurt national security, but he is clearly trying to have it both ways instead of responsibly governing,” said Sadie Weiner, Press Secretary for the DSCC. “By choosing politics over a commonsense, clean funding bill for DHS, Johnson would force border patrol agents to work without pay and halt progress on new technology that could better protect and secure our border. Wisconsin deserves more from their Senator than Ron Johnson’s blatant hypocrisy and Tea Party extremism.”
Most DHS Employees Including Border Patrol and Customs Officers Would Be Forced to Work Without Paychecks During DHS Shutdown. As reported by The Hill, “Of the more than 230,000 employees who work for DHS, the vast majority — around 200,000 — would continue to work, but without paychecks. The ‘essential’ employees who would remain on the job include the department’s 40,000 border patrol and customs officers, 50,000 TSA screeners, 13,000 immigration law enforcement officers, 40,000 active duty Coast Guard members, and 4,000 Secret Service agents.” [The Hill, 2/6/15]
In DHS Shutdown, Investments in New Border Surveillance Would Be Put On Hold. As reported by National Journal, “Additionally, investing in new border surveillance would be put on hold. DHS’s non-disaster grants, which go to state and local municipalities, will go unfunded. And the budget uncertainty could potentially delay the delivery of a National Security Cutter, which is the centerpiece of the Coast Guard’s fleet, according to a DHS official.” [National Journal, 1/5/15]
Clean DHS Funding Bill Includes Additional $20 Million For Border Surveillance Technology and Additional $42 Million for Air and Marine Border Patrol Activities. According to the Senate Appropriations Committee summary of the FY 2015 DHS appropriations bill, “The bill provides $12.582 billion for Customs and Border Protection (CBP), $3 million less than the request and $299 million more than fiscal year 2014. This level: Provides $20 million more than the request for border surveillance technology and $42 million more than the request for air and marine activities, ensuring at least 95,000 hours of flight for patrolling our land and maritime borders. [Senate Appropriations Committee, S.272, 1/28/15]