The recent spate of deadly terrorist attacks that have taken place in France has complicated the situation in the US regarding spending on counter terrorism by the White House.
The attacks in Paris have been widely condemned by politicians around the world for their brutality, particularly the killing of staff and cartoonists at the Charlie Hebdo magazine offices which left 12 dead and included the pint blank shooting of a police officer on the street which was filmed and broadcast.
While the images from France have been exceptionally alarming, the rise in the level of terrorism in Europe has led to questions being asked about how the US should proceed with spending on counter terrorism, complicating Republican lawmakers’ plans to force a showdown with President Barack Obama over funding for the sprawling government agency that spearheads U.S. counterterrorism efforts.
According to a report by Reuters, several prominent Republicans said there should be no interruption in funding for the Department of Homeland Security, which is tasked with preventing attacks on U.S. soil and with securing the country’s borders, airports and coastal waters.
The agency’s funding expires on Feb. 27. Republican leaders had planned to use the deadline as leverage to challenge Obama’s new program shielding millions of undocumented immigrants from deportation.
It is widely expected that a move such as this would lead to a White House veto and would ultimately risk cutting off the funding to the DHS.
“I’m against the executive order, and we should stop it, fine, but we cannot in any way weaken our homeland security funding when it comes to counterterrorism,” said Representative Peter King, a senior Republican member of the House Homeland Security committee in a report by Reuters. “You can’t afford to cut back $1.”
According to Reuters, Boehner told a news conference that the House “will soon take action” aimed at stopping Obama’s executive order but gave no details, other than to say this would not put DHS funding at risk.
House Appropriations Committee Chairman Harold Rogers said the plan was still under discussion, though he hopes to introduce a bill on Friday that seeks to fully meet the Obama administration’s DHS funding request while blocking implementation of the immigration order. If it were vetoed, Obama would take the blame for cutting off DHS funds, he said.
Republican Representative Trey Gowdy, a South Carolina conservative, said the Paris attack showed the need for Homeland Security funding but Congress should still “send a message” to Obama on immigration.
“I don’t think the two are mutually exclusive,” he added to Reuters.