House approves Homeland Security funding

Washington – An impasse over funding of the Department of Homeland Security that threatened the paychecks of DHS employees all over the nation, including nearly 1,500 in Connecticut, ended Tuesday.

The House approved a bill that does not include riders to block President Obama’s immigration policies. The Senate approved a bill that would fund the department – without the riders – last week.

With funding for DHS set to run out on Friday, House Speaker John Boehner allowed the House to vote on the Senate legislation.

All House Democrats, including all five members of Connecticut’s House delegation, and 75 Republicans voted in the majority on the 257-167 vote. Conservative Republicans opposed the measure, still backing legislation aimed at preventing Obama from carrying out executive orders that would protect about 4 million undocumented immigrants from deportation.

“Congress finally came together to fund the Department of Homeland Security for the rest of the year,” said Rep. Elizabeth Esty, D-5th District. “The partisan games and manufactured crises over the last few weeks were nothing short of dangerous. I’m relieved members of both parties overcame extreme Tea Party antics and put the safety and security of our nation first.”

Conservative Republicans, who called Obama’s actions unconstitutional, condemned the vote.

“I believe this is a sad day for America,” said Rep. Matt Salmon, R-Ariz., “If we’re not going to fight now, when are we going to fight?”

Had Congress not approved the bill, all DHS personnel would have stopped receiving pay after Friday, although most of them are considered “essential” employees and would have been required to stay on the job. Connecticut is home to about 1,500 DHS employees, about half of them Coast Guard personnel.

 

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