NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Congress has narrowly avoided a Homeland Security shut down after the House of Representatives reached a decision just before the midnight deadline Friday.

As CBS2’s Ilana Gold reported, Congress just passed a bill that extends funding for the department, but it only lasts for a week and there’s a lot at stake across the Tri-State Area.

Local security experts expressed concerns since the legislation passed is only temporary.

The battle surrounding long-term funding is actually over immigration reform.

House Republicans are trying to stop federal money from being spent on President Barack Obama’s executive order that protects some 4 million undocumented immigrants from deportation, Gold reported.

So Republicans attached amendments to the Homeland Security budget bill.

New Jersey Congressman Bill Pascrell told WCBS 880’s Jim Smith that homeland security funding too important to get caught up in a “game of ping pong.”

“You would use this as barter and trying to get something else, I think it’s the most despicable un-American thing I’ve ever seen in my life,” Pascrell said.

Pascrell was one of five House Democrats to vote no on the one-week extension.

“I’ve done what I thought was the right thing. I think that if you can’t stand up on your own two feet then you should be there in the first place,” he said.

He said Congress could be in the same stalemate at the end of the week.

“We’ve got to get things done,” he said.

And as House leaders rushed to get votes to avoid a shutdown Friday afternoon, Mayor Bill de blasio released a powerful statement on the issue.

“With the variety of threats to our national security, the need for adequate funding could not be more paramount to our public safety than now,” the statement said in part.

And NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton couldn’t ignore the issue either, telling CBS2 holding the department hostage to politics is irresponsible at best, dangerous at worst.

“If the leadership of the United States — its elected officials — can’t get their act together – an example of how that can impact the security of the United States,” Bratton said.

Law and Police Science Professor Maki Haberfeld at John Jay College said the NYPD needs stability when it comes to fighting terrorism.

“They’re critical — not just right now, they’re super critical right now, given the fact that major terrorist organizations around the world call for attacks on malls; attacks on soft targets,” she said.

And it’s not just the NYPD; agencies that protect the airports and cities’ transit systems – also potential terror targets — rely on funding from Homeland Security.

“It’s critical that we don’t have these lapses. Once we have these lapses, sometimes it’s almost impossible to recover from the damage,” Haberfeld said.

The hope is that lawmakers will secure a long-term solution within the next week. But at this point, it remains unclear how they’re going to resolve their issues when it comes to funding.


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