Facing a potential shutdown of the Department of Homeland Security, President Obama appealed to the nation’s governors on Monday to take action on the funding crisis currently underway in Congress.
“Unless Congress acts, one week from now, more than 100,000 DHS employees – border patrol, port inspectors, TSA agents – will show up to work without getting paid,” Obama said at a White House event hosting the governors.If Congress doesn’t pass a bill by Friday, DHS will be shut down, requiring thousands of government employees to not work and thousands more to work without pay. Congressional Republicans want to censure the department over its administration of the president’s immigration actions, but Democrats have so far refused to pass anything other than a clean funding bill.
While the two parties are at an impasse, the president urged the governors to think of the ramifications of a DHS shutdown on their own state economies.
“[DHS employees] all work in your states. These are folks who, if they don’t have a paycheck, are not going to spend money in your states. It will have a direct impact on your economy and it will have a direct impact on America’s national security,” Obama said. “And as governors, you know that we can’t afford to play politics with our national security.”
Obama also touted his economic achievements – positive jobs numbers, rebounding wages, and the number of people who are now insured thanks to Obamacare and Medicaid expansions—and teased the assembled governors about the presidential bids many of them will likely launch soon.
“I’m in the fourth quarter of my presidency, or as some of you might call it, the kickoff for your campaign season,” he said to laughs from the crowd.