First Responders could lose funding

Melissa Quinn -- The Daily Signal

Hundreds of miles from the nation’s capital, local sheriffs are feeling reverberations from Congress’ fight over Department of Homeland Security funding.

This week, Secretary Jeh Johnson delivered what one sheriff views as a “not-so veiled threat” on what could happen if an agreement isn’t reached. Johnson’sstatement, released Tuesday, explains why Congress needs to pass a bill funding the federal agency before Feb. 27.

But a sheriff in Colorado is pushing back against Johnson’s message.

In the statement, Johnson called for a Homeland Security funding bill “unburdened by politically charged amendments that attempt to defund our executive actions on immigration reform.” He reiterates President Obama’s threat to veto any legislation the attempts to block his immigration policies.

“It’s a not-so-veiled threat that if [lawmakers] don’t do what the president wants, law enforcement agencies are going to get the short end of the stick,” said Sheriff Justin Smith of Larimer County, Colo.

The GOP-controlled House passed a bill last month funding the agency and rolling back the president’s executive actions. Republicans in the Senate are working to advance the legislation, but Democrats have blocked debate three times this week. Democrats want a “clean” bill; Republicans argue they should at least debate the measure on the Senate floor.

Johnson’s statement was posted on the Department of Homeland Security’s website Tuesday, but was also disseminated to county sheriffs in Colorado through a state sheriffs association.

Chris Johnson, executive director of the County Sheriff’s of Colorado, told The Daily Signal his association frequently receives information from the federal government, including Immigration and Customs Enforcement and the Department of Homeland Security.

This particular release was passed on to him from one of the state’s government offices, and he felt it would be of particular interest to Colorado’s sheriffs.

Smith received the memo through the association and responded to Johnson’s statement on his Facebook page.

Click here to read more