McCaul: GOP must make 'tough choices' this week on DHS funding

McCaul: GOP must make 'tough choices' this week on DHS funding
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House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Michael McCaul (R-Texas) said Monday that Republicans will have to make “tough choices” in the debate over funding the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) this week.

On CNN’s “This Hour,” McCaul said the ball currently rests in the Senate's court.

“It’s up to the Senate to determine what they send back to the House and we'll probably see something come back from the Senate this week and then we have to make some tough choices,” he said.

“I fully believe that we should not be playing politics with the National Security Agency, like Homeland Security, particularly given the high-threat environment that we're in right now as we look at ISIS, as we look at this latest pronouncement coming out of al-Shabaab,” McCaul added. “I'm very concerned that a Paris-style attack could occur in the United States, anytime, anywhere. And it would be irresponsible for lawmakers and policy makers to shut down this National Security Agency at this very grave time.”

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A CNN host asked whether McCaul was suggesting DHS would be funded by the Friday deadline even if it doesn’t mean reversing President Obama’s immigration actions.

While McCaul didn’t explicitly say Republicans should change their strategy, he suggested the issue should be left up to the judicial branch.

“We have a federal judge now that has declared the executive action unlawful and saying that we would most likely prevail on the constitutional issue. I think the constitutional issue will play out in the courts. The courts determine whether something is constitutional, and not Congress,” McCaul replied.

House Republicans are waiting on the Senate to move forward on the $40 billion DHS spending bill the House passed in mid-January. The House GOP attached riders to the bill that would roll back Obama’s immigration orders. Democrats in the Senate have repeatedly blocked the bill from even entering debate.

Over the last week, some Republicans like McCaul have suggested Republicans should give up on their strategy and let the courts determine the constitutionality of Obama’s actions. A Texas judge issued an injunction last week that temporarily halts the orders Obama’s announced in November. The federal government requested a stay Monday to delay the judge’s decision.

Senators return to Washington after a weeklong recess on Monday evening. House members return Tuesday evening with just 72 hours left to fund DHS.