Appearing on CBS’s Face the Nation Sunday, Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson again attacked House Republicans for their approval of a 2015 fiscal year budget for his department that would cut funding for President Barack Obama’s immigration programs. Obama, determined to keep his immigration programs in place, would kill the House bill, which would leave DHS without funding.
Johnson had already attacked the House GOP on Thursday, asserting the House GOP’s refusal to fund immigration programs would affect the DHS budget. He snapped that the budget “cannot become a political volleyball.’’ DHS funding will expire on February 27.
Johnson said, “I’m a little frustrated, frankly, because when I talked to my friends on the Senate side, they say, ‘Go talk to the House.’ And when I go talk to my friends on the House side, they say, ‘It’s not me, I passed my bill. Go talk to the Senate.” He added, “I respectfully urge Congress to pass an appropriations bill for DHS as soon as possible, free of politically-charged amendments to defund our executive actions.” He complained that if the DHS is defunded, his headquarters staff would be “dialed back to a skeleton.”
Speaking on Sunday on CNN’s State of the Union, Johnson adumbrated the reasons why cutting funding for DHS would be dangerous, alluding to the video released Saturday by a group allegedly connected to the Somali militant group al-Shabab that urged its followers to attack malls in the United states, Canada, and Great Britain. Johnson said:
If anyone is planning to go to the Mall of America today, they’ve got to be particularly careful. There will be enhanced security there, but public vigilance, public awareness and public caution in situations like this is particularly important, and it’s the environment we’re in, frankly.
The video specifically spoke of attacks on the Mall of America in Bloomington, Minnesota; West Edmonton Mall in Canada; and Westfield mall in Stratford, England, and referenced the 2013 attack on the Westgate Mall in Nairobi. The voiceover in the video stated, “So hurry up, hasten towards heaven, and do not hesitate, for the disbelievers have no right whatsoever to rejoice in the safety of their lands until safety becomes a reality in Palestine and all the lands of Muslims.”
Last fall, DHS Under Secretary Suzanne E. Spaulding informed a Senate hearing that working with the private sector was imperative for DHS. She said:
In the wake of the terrorist attack on the shopping mall in Nairobi, Kenya, DHS and the FBI engaged more than 400 major malls across the United States to facilitate table-top exercises based on a similar attack involving active shooters and the use of improved explosive devices.
Johnson made a third appearance on Sunday, this time on Fox News Sunday, where he defended Obama’s refusal to link the Islamic State with “radical Islam,” bloviating, “To say that they are in any form Islamic cedes to them a playing field that they would like to be drawn into.”
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) took issue with Johnson, calling Johnson’s warnings of a disastrous effect on states and cities from a DHS budget cut “baloney.” He asserted that all essential personnel would still be working, despite any DHS budget cut. He also pointed out that since the recent court ruling blocking Obama’s immigration policies, the Democrats are to blame for the lack of legislation in Congress.