Fighting over funding for the domestic security agency has finally come to an end, however while the money is now available, other issues have arisen from the saga.
The House of Representatives has finally approved the funding for the year for the Department of Homeland Security following attempts by members of the Republican party to block the funding to effectively block an immigration bill brought in by President Obama.
In the end the bill was passed by 257 votes to 167 and ended the standoff between the parties regarding the controversial immigration bill which would see millions of undocumented residents avoid deportation.
According to a report by Reuters, Obama said on Tuesday night he would sign the funding bill “as soon as I receive it,” and added in a statement: “Today, after far too long, Congress finally voted to fully fund” the agency.
While the vote ended a fight that brought the department to the very brink of a partial shutdown, it also raised very important questions about the ability of John Boehner to lead the house and to keep rowdy Republicans under control.
According to Reuters, despite committing to drama-free government after November’s elections, when Republicans won Senate control and tightened their grip on the House, they quarrelled internally in the struggle over the agency’s funding and, in the end, achieved little.
The report continued to note that by Tuesday, weeks of drama had left Boehner with few, if any, viable procedural options to keep the agency open while also placating conservatives who wanted the funding bill to block Obama’s executive actions.
The fighting within government that threatened to put many peoples jobs at risk and wages unpaid has left many Americans questioning the ability of the government to actually effectively run the country.
The in-fighting and debates have tied up lawmakers for weeks and has led many to believe that promises made by everyone from Boehner to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, that the new Republican-led Congress could overcome its divisions to challenge Obama and forge significant legislative accomplishments.
According to Reuters, in the final minutes before the House vote, Representative Charlie Dent, a moderate Pennsylvania Republican, said during floor debate: “It’s time to move forward and stop playing these silly games. … Let’s prove to the American people that we’re serious about protecting this homeland and that we have the capacity to govern.”
Reuters notes that the bill provides nearly $40 billion in funding for the agency, which secures U.S. borders, airports, coastal waters and other critical facilities. Without the funding, the agency would have been forced to furlough about 30,000 employees, or about 15 percent of its workforce. About 200,000 others would have stayed on the job without pay, including airport and border agents.