Sullivan Stands With House on DHS Funding

Sen. Ted Cruz addresses press conference, with Sen. Dan Sullivan on deck.
Sen. Ted Cruz addresses press conference, with Sen. Dan Sullivan on deck.

Funding for the Department of Homeland Security will run out February 27, unless Congress can resolve an impasse over immigration policy riders the House included in its funding bill.  Alaska Sen. Dan Sullivan today stood with conservative lawmakers, including Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, calling on the Senate to pass the House bill.

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Sullivan told reporters at the Capitol he wants to work with President Obama. In fact, he said, he was heading to the White House that afternoon to watch him sign a veterans mental health bill. But when it comes to Homeland Security funding, Sullivan says Democrats shouldn’t support Obama’s immigration policies.

“And I think it’s very important that we make the case that this is something the American people don’t support and it’s something the Constitution of the United States does not authorize,” he said at a press conference that included Republican Sens. Cruz, Mike Lee of Utah and Jeff Sessions of Alabama, along with a host of House conservatives.

The House bill blocks funding for executive orders that would temporarily shield millions of illegal immigrants from deportation. The Supreme Court hasn’t ruled whether President Obama has the authority under the Constitution to issue the orders, which opponents call “executive amnesty.”

Senate Democrats are demanding a bill free of the funding blocks, and time is running out. Earlier this week, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, among other Republicans on the Senate leadership team, said the House needs to come up with another solution because the House-passed bill doesn’t have the 60 votes needed to clear the Senate. But Cruz and the other lawmakers at the press conference want to hold firm.

“The House of Representatives has done its job,” Cruz said. A flurry of camera shutters followed each of his hand gestures. “It has voted on funding for DHS. And Senate Democrats are playing partisan politics with our national security by preventing the Senate from even taking up that funding bill.”

Senate Democrats say it’s the Republicans risking furloughs at DHS. The Department includes the Coast Guard, the immigration service, border protection and FEMA.

Liz Ruskin is the Washington, D.C., correspondent at Alaska Public Media. Reach her at Read more about Liz here.

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