Price Floor Remarks on DHS Shutdown
Mr. PRICE of North Carolina. Mr. Speaker, I rise today, yet again, in support of a clean Homeland Security funding bill.
First, Mr. Speaker, however, I want to thank my colleague, Patrick McHenry, for the tribute he gave a few moments ago to his predecessor in the 10th Congressional District of North Carolina, Cass Ballenger, who passed away last week. Cass Ballenger was a treasured colleague of mine. He and I came to the House together in the class of 1986. We worked together on a number of matters, including teacher recruitment and disaster relief. Cass used his time here and the work of his foundation to reach out to some of the neediest people in the hemisphere, in Latin America, in addressing their health care needs.
He came here after a successful business career. He was a man of great goodwill, good humor. He was someone who was a great favorite on both sides of the aisle. So I am happy to join Patrick McHenry and other colleagues in remembering Cass Ballenger fondly and paying tribute to his years of good citizenship and service.
Now, at this moment, Mr. Speaker, we are 38 hours away from a Department of Homeland Security shutdown which will undermine many of the agency's critical missions and force its essential employees to go without pay until the politics of all this are worked out.
Front-line personnel at Customs and Border Protection, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the Coast Guard, the Secret Service, the Transportation Security Administration, and other critical agencies are going to be left wondering how to pay their mortgages and how to feed their families instead of focusing on their critical missions.
In North Carolina alone, Mr. Speaker, over 4,000 Homeland Security employees are going to be furloughed or go without pay.
House Republicans forced this unnecessary stalemate by including poison pill riders in the bill that our Homeland Security Subcommittee negotiated late last year. It was a bipartisan, bicameral negotiated bill. It is ready to be passed right this minute. It should have been passed in December along with the rest of the appropriations bills. Instead, Republicans held back Homeland Security, and they added riders designed to poke the President in the eye and to impose radical anti-immigration policies on our country.
Now, thankfully, Senate Republican leaders understand the potential consequences of a shutdown. They have resisted this Tea Party bait, and they have decided to take up a clean Homeland Security funding bill. So the Senate must quickly pass that bill, and Speaker Boehner must let us vote on that bill.
Mr. Speaker, the American people didn't send us to Washington to shut down critical functions of the United States Government on which all of our citizens depend. Pass a clean Homeland Security funding bill.