House Republicans tied Department of Homeland Security funding to their bill blocking implementation of President Obama’s executive actions on immigration, but the recent terror threats are a growing part of the GOP political calculus.
Senator Rob Portman (R., Ohio) told reporters that he is “acutely aware” of it following the arrest of an Ohio man who supports ISIS and planned an attack on the U.S. Capitol.
“We’re not just going to see DHS [go through] a shutdown threat; it’s too important,” Portman said at the Joint Republican Retreat in Hershey, Penn. “But we also want to be sure that we have done all that we can to get the president to work with us rather than go around the Congress and go around the American people.”
House GOP Conference chair Cathy McMorris Rodgers, of Washington, made a similar point when she was asked about the threat to the Capitol.
“Going back to the importance of getting Homeland Security bill [passed], we take that very seriously,” she told reporters during a press briefing Thursday morning. “It really is the number one responsibility of the federal government to keep the country safe and we need to take this seriously . . . we will be working very closely with the president.”
Portman allowed that Republicans do have some room to maneuver in this fight with Obama, given that most of DHS is deemed essential and therefore keeps operating even when funding technically lapses.
Still, he emphasized that “we have to be cognizant that this is a very real threat and we need to stick together as Americans, not as Republicans or Democrats, in countering that threat.”