MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Late Friday night, Congress avoided a shutdown of the Department of Homeland Security by approving a week extension of agency funding.
That puts the new deadline for a shutdown for this Friday, and with the recent video threat by al-Shabaab against the Mall of America, the timing of the shutdown is raising concerns.
And it’s not just the threat to the Mall of America. Last week, a Minneapolis teen pleaded guilty to trying to leave the country to join ISIS. Also last week, three young men were arrested on similar charges in New York.
But the funding for Homeland Security continues to be tied up in a partisan dispute over the President Barack Obama’s immigration proposal.
If a shutdown happens, 15 percent of Homeland Security employees would be furloughed, the rest deemed essential workers would stay on the job but would not be paid.
Democrats warn this will harm the agency’s ability to monitor and respond to terror threats.
“This is a bad thing for our security,” said Rep. Keith Ellison on WCCO Sunday Morning. “Homeland Security is a part of protecting our borders…the reality is the Mall of America [was] just threated a week ago by al-Shabaab. This is exactly the wrong time to try and make the point that [the Republicans] are trying to make.”
Conservatives say the point they are making is an important one. The argue the president’s immigration proposal is unconstitutional and that he and Democrats are too blame for the looming shutdown.
At the moment, there is no clear path to a compromise that would prevent the department from shutting down on Friday.
Esme Murphy’s Full Interview With Keith Ellison