The Republicans' proposal to block President Obama's lenient new deportation policy threatens to shutter the Homeland Security Department (DHS) at a time of heightened terrorist risks, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) warned Monday.
"It is clear Republicans’ partisan recklessness knows no limits," Pelosi said in a statement. "House Republicans are threatening a partial government shutdown, choosing a time of rising terrorism to imperil the security of our entire country to satisfy the most radical anti-immigrant fringes of their party."
Although the program would be funded by user fees, not congressional appropriations, the Republicans' bill would prohibit the DHS from employing those fees to put the changes in place.
The GOP bill would also roll back Obama's 2012 deferred action program, which allows high-achieving illegal immigrants brought to the country as youngsters to stay and work.
GOP leaders say the provisions are a common-sense response to a president they accuse of abusing his executive powers. They're quick to acknowledge the need to keep the DHS up and running, especially in light of recent terrorist attacks in Paris. And they're hoping that threat forces the Senate and the White House to swallow the immigration provisions for the sake of keeping the agency funded.
"We want to send a bill to the president that defunds his amnesty program, but also very importantly funds the Department of Homeland Security — the Coast Guard, TSA, the Border Patrol, the ICE teams [Immigration and Customs Enforcement], the Secret Service," said Hal Rogers (R-Ky.), House Appropriations Committee chairman, Friday.
"It’s a very dangerous time. I would wonder whether or not the president would have real deep misgivings about not signing a bill funding the Department of Homeland Security.”
Pelosi and the Democrats have a starkly different view, warning that the immigration amendments will strangle the debate and put the nation's security at risk.
“Instead of building on the president’s actions to restore accountability to our broken immigration system, Republicans have chosen to play games with the security of every American family," she said. "Republicans must abandon this spectacularly dangerous tactic, and come together with Democrats to restore certainty to the funding of Homeland Security.”
The House is expected to vote on the DHS package later this week.