NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Funding for homeland security will run out in just four days.
As CBS2’s Marcia Kramer reported, it’s a fight so ugly that even some top Republicans say they may go against their own party.
“If I have to vote against Republicans, I will,” said Long Island U.S. Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.). “If I have to vote against the Republican leadership, I will. I’m not going to see another 9/11.”
Congress has until Friday to pass a $40 billion spending bill for the Department of Homeland Security or it will shut down.
“The threat from terrorism is greater than at any time since 9/11,” King said. “ISIS is killing people through the world; burning people, beheading people. Al-Shabaab is threatening to blow up malls in the United States. The worst thing we can do is let our enemies think we are backing off, that we are cutting off funding.”
King said it’s just plain wrong that members of his own party are holding security funds hostage in a stalemate with President Barack Obama over immigration.
Republicans have attached amendments to the security budget bill that would prevent federal funds from being spent to enforce Obama’s executive order to protect some 4 million undocumented immigrants from deportation, Kramer reported.
“This involves human lives and this is too risky a game to be playing here,” King said.
The battle is so intense that Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson held a press conference to warn of the consequences.
“This is no way to run a government,” he said.
And local members of congress warned about dire consequences, including loss of money for local anti-terror programs in the Tri-State area.
“There is no question if we don’t have a homeland security bill, it definitely has an impact on the security of our country,” said Rep. Nita Lowey (D-N.Y.).
“It’s simply unconscionable that anybody in the Congress would be willing to play politics with something as serious as our national security,” said Rep. Bill Pascrell (D-N.J.).
King told Kramer that Republicans from New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania plan to meet house leadership Tuesday night to demand a vote on the bill.
He said he has enough Republicans willing to join with the Democrats to pass the bill. The big worry is that the leaders will keep the bill bottled up so it doesn’t reach the floor.