With just nine days until funding for the Department of Homeland Security runs out, Secretary Jeh Johnson is using every platform he can to make the plea for funding.
Speaking at the White House Summit on Countering Violent Extremism on Wednesday, the secretary cautioned that a failure to pass an appropriations bill to fund the agency could have dramatic consequences.
“As long as we’re on a [continuing resolution], we’re restrained to last year’s spending levels and we’re unable to engage in new starts, new initiatives for spending,” Johnson said.
Johnson said that a failure to fund the department could have significant impacts on border security, implementing key recommendations from an independent review of the Secret Service, and staffing up security for presidential campaigns during the upcoming 2016 cycle.
“We’re unable to do some of the things that the Secret Service, independent panel has recommended for the Secret Service, we’re unable to hire for upcoming presidential elections cycle. We’re unable to fund new non-disaster grants to many of the people in this room in uniform. We’re unable to fund state and local law enforcement with our grants as long as we are on a continuing resolution,” Johnson said, calling for a “fully-funded appropriation.”
The Secretary noted that in his recent trip to Phoenix to oversee Superbowl security preparation, he was informed that the communications and surveillance technology was funded by his department.
“As long as we’re on the [continuing resolution],” he said, “We’re unable to do these very important things for homeland security.”
Johnson might have been preaching to the choir in his remarks: the only lawmakers in attendance at the Summit were Democrats, including Rep. Keith Ellison, Sen. Al Franken, and Sen. Amy Klobuchar. Other attendees included Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo, and local officials and community leaders involved in pilot programs across the country in countering violent extremism.