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Kildee warns against shutdown of Homeland Security

Congressman Dan Kildee
Photo courtesy of the Office of Congressman Dan Kildee

Michigan Congressman Dan Kildee says a majority of "reasonable Republicans" would be willing to avoid a shutdown of the Department of Homeland Security next week.

But on Sunday, House Speaker John Boehner says that's exactly what will happen, if the Senate does not pass a DHS funding bill that can also pass in the House.

Homeland Security will shut down by Friday, February 27th, if a funding bill is not approved.

A number of House Republicans say the funding bill must include provisions to roll back recent presidential orders on immigration, which allow certain people brought to the United States illegally as children to remain in the U.S., and defer deportation of their parents.

Kildee says a shutdown would close the bulk of DHS’s management and homeland security infrastructure support that was built following the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

"These are essential public services that this department provides and that ought to be the only thing that we're thinking about," he says.

Kildee says House leadership appears to be in thrall to the will of a minority of Tea Party activist members.

"There are a number on the other side that enjoy seeing these sorts of crises," he says, "and don't feel it's a bad thing when government or a portion of government gets shut down. They actually don't believe in government and therefore get some satisfaction, I guess, in seeing dysfunction."

Congress returns from a weeklong break on Monday, February 23rd. That will give legislators four days to resolve the issue.

Tracy Samilton covers energy and transportation, including the auto industry and the business response to climate change for Michigan Public. She began her career at Michigan Public as an intern, where she was promptly “bitten by the radio bug,” and never recovered.