As the stalemate over the funding of the Department of Homeland Security continues in Congress, Secretary Jeh Johnson on Sunday said that he would be forced to have to furlough his nearly 30,000 employees if the bill is not passed by the February-end.
“This is not a situation to make light of. In these challenging times we need a fully funded Department of Homeland Security,” Johnson reportedly said a news channel.
Making a more stern terms and tone, Johnson pushed back on a growing argument that a shutdown at DHS wouldn’t impose a far-reaching effect as many of its workers would remain at the work as essential employees.
However, Johnson didn’t hesitate in claiming that such an un-called logjam is right, particularly when the people are called to work without pay.
“Let’s not forget that the Department of Homeland Security interfaces with the American public more than any other department in our government at airports and at ports. I am on Capitol Hill now virtually every working day talking to Democrats and Republicans about the importance of a fully funded Department of Homeland Security in these times in particular,” Johnson asserted in his appeal to the lawmakers.
According to Johnson, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) will undergo furlough to an estimated 80 percent of its workforce.
The Congress has entered a standoff over whether a DHS funding bill should include the riders for ending the executive actions of President Barack Obama in order to defer the deportations for the undocumented immigrants in the country. Even thought the bill has been cleared in the House, it’s been filibustered thrice in the Senate by the Democrats and is expected to face president’s veto even if it is cleared.
The role of the Department of Homeland Security in providing protection to the United States from the threats cannot be denied and therefore controversy and political slugfest over its funding is not justifiable.
The federal agency holds the onus for providing counter-terrorism intelligence, ensure and maintain security as well as safety at our airports and country’s borders and protect the online American users from the growing threat of cyber terrorism.
Former National Security Advisor General Scowcroft has recently described cyber terrorism “as dangerous as nuclear weapons”.
Moreover, the agency is also liable to look after the crisis created due to natural disasters and provide the states with expertise and emergency assistance.