Johnson urges Congress to act on DHS appropriations bill

Homeland Security Secretary, Jeh Johnson. | Courtesy of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security

Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Jeh Johnson released a statement Tuesday urging Congress to push the DHS appropriations bill forward without what he called politically charged amendments.

Until an appropriations bill is passed for the remainder of the 2015 fiscal year, the department is being funded via a continuing resolution. According to Johnson, this is not enough for the department to perform the duties needed by communities across the U.S.

Johnson said his primary concern is that the department may not be able to provide grants to governments at state, local and tribal levels for emergency response development, fire departments and law enforcement. In a visit to Phoenix to oversee security operations for the Super Bowl, he was made aware by staff that a majority of equipment used for surveillance and communication was funded by DHS.

According to his statement, expenditures that localities are able to make with grants from DHS include salaries for emergency managers nationwide, improved security for schools and universities in Florida, 150 firefighting jobs in Detroit, 15 mobile command centers that aid Kentucky, and other programs in other states and the Washington D.C. area.

DHS appropriations have been delayed in Congress as Republicans seek to nullify executive actions taken by President Barrack Obama on immigration reform.

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