DHS director: Funding squabble dangerous
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Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Jeh Johnson warned on Sunday that national security could suffer if Congress does not reach an agreement to fund the department by the end of February. 

"This is not a situation to make light of," he said on CNN's "State of the Union."  "In these challenging times, we need a fully funded Department of Homeland Security."

Republican lawmakers want to use the department's budget as a vehicle to halt the president's recent immigration actions, but that's drawn the ire of Democrats who have blocked that in the Senate. Johnson said that while the debate is legitimate, this is the wrong theater in which to hold it.

"If people in Congress want to have the debate about immigration reform, let's have that debate," he said.

"But don’t tie that to funding public safety and Homeland Security for the American people."

As it's become increasingly difficult for Congress to authorize new budgets, Homeland Security operates on a continuing resolution, a move that carries over funding levels from the prior year. Johnson said it's not enough to keep reauthorizing those levels, and that his department needs a new budget.

"As long as we are on a continuing resolution, we are, first of all, restricted to last year's funding levels, but we are not allowed to fund new initiatives,' he said, like increasing hiring at the Secret Service ahead of presidential elections, offering new grants to localities or new measures to secure the border.

"I cannot fund those initiatives, which should be of serious concern."