- The Washington Times - Monday, February 2, 2015

President Obama will escalate the looming Homeland Security shutdown showdown Monday by traveling to the department’s headquarters for a special budget speech, saying more than 100,000 federal employees could be left on the job but without pay if Congress doesn’t pass a funding bill by the end of this month.

Almost all Homeland Security employees are deemed essential, which means the Border Patrol, interior immigration enforcement agents and airport screeners would remain on the job even in the event that funding isn’t approved. But they would have to work without pay until a bill is passed — a situation Mr. Obama will say is unacceptable, a White House official said in a preview email.

“We need to put politics aside and pass a budget that funds our national security priorities at home and abroad and gives middle-class families the security they need to get ahead in the new economy,” the official said.

Mr. Obama will release his full 2016 budget on Monday, but he and Congress are still battling over the 2015 funding for homeland security.

The House has passed a bill to fund the department, but has attached language halting Mr. Obama’s 2012 amnesty for about 600,000 so-called Dreamers and his new amnesty that begins later this month for up to 4 million more illegal immigrants. House Republicans argue Mr. Obama has overstepped his powers in granting the temporary amnesty from deportation.

Mr. Obama, though, says he is trying to right a broken immigration system without getting any help from Congress. He said the Republicans’ effort “makes things worse” at the border and the interior by requiring him to deport more illegal immigrants, rather than focusing only on the ones he wants to prioritize.

Republican leaders have insisted they do not want to see a showdown over homeland security funding, but they are under pressure from some rank-and-file lawmakers who say since employees will remain on the job and no essential services will be cut, it’s worth having a showdown to try to undo the president’s unilateral actions.

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