Homeland Security shutdown: What you should know

Posted at 6:16 PM, Feb 27, 2015
and last updated 2015-02-27 21:59:36-05

9:55 p.m. ET: The House has voted in favor of a one-week extension to fund the Department of Homeland Security. The bill will go to President Barack Obama, who is expected to sign it.

9:10 p.m. ET: House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said in a press conference that she will encourage House Democrats to vote in favor of a one week "patch" tonight.

8:30 p.m. ET: The Senate has passed a bill to fund the Department of Homeland Security for one more week. The bill now goes to the House, which must pass it by midnight to avoid a department shutdown.

The U.S. House of Representatives failed to pass a stopgap bill Friday that would have extended funding for the Department of Homeland Security for three weeks.

Without an extension, DHS will partially shut down at midnight, CNN reports.

The vote was 203-224. Most Democrats and 51 Republicans voted against it.

The Washington Post reports that Democrats voted against the bill because they wanted funding for a full year. The Senate has already passed a short-term bill, which the Obama administration said it supports.

Republicans had previously threatened that they would not pass a bill to fund DHS unless it removed changes to immigration policies from the Obama administration.

DHS is responsible for border and airport security, among other roles. Thousands of workers would go on furlough if funding is not passed.

If funding runs out, here’s what happens:

  • Thousands of DHS workers will be furloughed or have to work without pay
  • Funding due to DHS grants will run out, which could affect emergency responders
  • Immigration documents will no longer be processed, which could affect business hiring

The DHS shutdown would have parallels to the 2013 government shutdown.

According to CNN, about 200,000 “essential” DHS employees were required to work during in 2013. Many of them had to wait until after the shutdown ended to get a paycheck. About 30,000 DHS employees were furloughed in 2013.

Essential employees included:

  • 50,000 Transportation Security Administration screeners
  • 40,000 U.S. Coast Guard members
  • 13,000 Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers
  • 40,000 Customs and Border Patrol officers
  • 4,000 Secret Service agents

Gavin Stern is a national digital producer for the Scripps National Desk.