NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — Police Commissioner Bill Bratton says a shutdown of the Department of Homeland Security would be irresponsible and dangerous.
In a statement released Friday, he urged Congress “not to play politics.”
“Given the current threats facing this country, holding an agency responsible for protecting Americans from terrorism hostage to politics is irresponsible at best and dangerous at worst,” he said. “I urge our law makers to have the debate on immigration policy and to serve the interests of those who elected them, but not to play politics with a vital piece of the apparatus that protects our citizens from terrorism and natural disaster.”
Meanwhile, the House Friday voted on a short-term bill to fund the Department of Homeland Security and avert a partial agency shutdown. The vote was 240-183 and it came just hours ahead of a midnight deadline to fund the agency.
The procedural vote cleared the way for final passage of the legislation later in the day in the House and Senate.
The three-week funding bill leaves intact President Barack Obama’s executive actions on immigration, even though Republicans have vowed to repeal them.
House GOP leaders insist that agreeing to a short-term bill gives them another chance to try to overturn Obama’s directives limiting deportations for millions.
But Senate Republicans have already admitted defeat and were moving to approve a full-year bill free of contentious immigration provisions.
Without action, the DHS would begin to shut down at midnight Friday, furloughing 30,000 workers. Another 200,000 would be deemed essential and continue to report to work, albeit without pay.
Earlier this week, local Congress members on both sides of the aisle urged colleagues to pass the bill.
“This involves human lives,” said Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y. “It’s too risky a game to be playing.”
“It is simply unconscionable that anybody in Congress would be willing to play politics with something as serious as national security,” said Rep. Bill Pascrell, D-N.J.
Bratton says the DHS funds a number of programs that are vital to the city’s security. They include the NYPD’s intelligence analyst program and the purchase and deployment of explosive detection equipment.
He says to maximize the NYPD’s ability to protect New York City, the DHS has to be fully funded.
The possible shutdown comes just two days after federal authorities arrested three Brooklyn men on terror charges.
WEB EXTRA: Read the complaint (.pdf)
Akhror Saidakhmetov, 19, was arrested at John F. Kennedy Airport, where he was attempting to board a flight to Istanbul with plans to head to Syria, authorities said.
Another man, 24-year-old Abdurasul Hasanovich Juraboev, had a ticket to travel to Istanbul next month and was arrested in Brooklyn, federal prosecutors said.
A third defendant, Abror Habibov, 30, is accused of helping fund Saidakhmetov’s efforts. He was ordered held without bail in Florida.
A fourth suspect was in federal custody and was being questioned late Thursday over a possible connection to the case, sources told CBS2.
The three men already charged are accused of trying to join ISIS and plot attacks in the U.S. If convicted, each faces a maximum of 15 years in prison.
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