Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson called Wednesday for a long-term funding bill for his agency, warning that budget uncertainty “poses a real risk" to national security.
“It’s important that the Department of Homeland Security be funded through an appropriations bill,” he said on CNN.
“We cannot continue through the course of the year to function on the continuing resolution."
Johnson’s comments came just moments after he condemned an attack on a French satirical newspaper that left 12 dead. He warned of the “evolving nature of the terrorist threat that we potentially face here in our homeland and overseas,” where lone wolves or those affiliated with terror groups can blend into society.
Johnson did not directly answer a question about whether the budget issues are hurting his agency’s efforts to keep the country safe.
“A continuing resolution is not the way to go and that we, as long as we are operating on a CR, have real challenges in funding the things that need to be funded for homeland security across the spectrum,” he replied.
The agency’s budget has been caught up in a fight between President Obama and Congressional Republicans since Obama took executive action on immigration.
In December, Congress only authorized the agency’s budget through February as retribution for those action. Homeland Security currently operates thanks to a continuing resolution passed in concert with a larger omnibus funding bill.
GOP leaders are expected to weigh measures to defund Obama’s actions during February's debate over the Homeland Security budget.
Rep. Pete King (R-N.Y.) said Wednesday morning that any limits to the Homeland Security budget in response to Obama’s immigration policies must not hamper the agency’s counterterrorism programs.