By Justin Sink
January 12, 2015
Republicans are threatening to "muck around" with crucial funding for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) by inserting amendments that would roll back the president's executive action on immigration, the White House argued Monday.
And, in what appeared to be a reference to last week's terror attack on a satirical newspaper in France, White House press secretary Josh Earnest argued that "right now seems like a particularly bad time for them to do so."
"There's probably a lot of reasons to think that what Republicans are planning on the DHS funding bill is a bad idea," Earnest said.
Republicans last Friday filed a $39.7 billion bill that would fund the department through September.
But GOP lawmakers are expected to attach amendments that would prevent U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) from using funds to implement the president's recently announced executive orders, which would allow nearly 5 million illegal immigrants to apply for work permits and deferred deportations.
The amendments would also roll back the existing deferred deportation program for immigrants who were brought into the country illegally as children by preventing current enrollees from reapplying or accepting new applications.
Earnest said the president would veto legislation including such provisions.
"We've made clear, dating back to last fall, that the president would oppose any legislative effort to undermine the executive actions that he took to add greater accountability to our immigration system," Earnest said.
It's not clear, however, that the White House would get the opportunity, because the package seems unlikely to overcome the 60-vote threshold necessary to overcome a Senate filibuster.
Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) have said that they will avoid a shutdown of the department. DHS funding will expire at the end of February.
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