Sanders: Fund Homeland Security

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa, Feb. 21 – U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) today called on Congress to avert a shutdown of the Department of Homeland Security next Friday. The agency's budget is caught up in Republican effort to thwart President Barack Obama’s immigration policies.

“Republicans should stop holding our homeland security hostage and pass a clean, long-term funding bill. Terrorist acts are not only a threat to Paris and Denmark, they are a threat to the United States. We need the Homeland Security Department to be strong and vigilant, not shut down because Republicans disagree with the president over immigration," Sanders said.

If Homeland Security funding lapses on Feb. 27, much of the department could be forced to close and 230,000 workers would be sent home.

The Republican-controlled House has insisted on linking funding for homeland security to proposals that would dismantle Obama’s immigration policies.

The department includes intelligence and anti-terrorism officials as well as the border patrol and Coast Guard. Also at risk if the funding runs out are federal grant programs that help local fire departments.