Department of Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson told CNN on Sunday that if Congress doesn’t extend funding for his department by the end of the month and it is shut down, 30,000 people would be furloughed.
“This is not a situation to make light of,” Johnson said. “In these challenging times we need a fully funded Department of Homeland Security.”
The potential shutdown comes after GOP leaders split off funding in December from the rest of the government in an effort to gain leverage to challenge President Obama’s executive action on immigration.
“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 said. “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.”
Johnson warned that if Congress does not extend funding for Homeland Security, the department would implement a plan that requires most of the employees to work without pay. Thirteen percent of the department’s workforce, according to Johnson, would be furloughed if funding ceased.
Johnson urged Congress to present a clean funding bill to the President’s desk before continuing to debate the controversial executive action.
“Let's have that debate, but don't tie that to funding public safety at Homeland Security for the American people,” he said.
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