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McSally, Grijalva vote 'aye' as Congress approves clean DHS funding
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McSally, Grijalva vote 'aye' as Congress approves clean DHS funding

Remainder of Arizona Republicans vote against bill

  • McSally led a congressional junket along the border in January, including a short stop to speak with reporters just west of Naco.
    Dylan Smith/TucsonSentinel.com McSally led a congressional junket along the border in January, including a short stop to speak with reporters just west of Naco.

Department of Homeland Security workers, including Border Patrol agents, will be paid for another year, as Congress voted 257-167 on Tuesday afternoon to fund the agency, ending a dispute over controversial amendments that would have blocked funding for President Barack Obama's recent executive actions on immigration.

Arizona's congressional delegation split along party lines, with U.S. Rep. Martha McSally breaking from her party's majority and voting with leadership to OK the funding.

The freshman Republican joined U.S. Rep. Raul Grijalva and the rest of Arizona Democrats in Congress in the vote. All other GOP representatives from the state voted against the measure. Among House Republicans, 75 voted for the funding, including Speaker John Boehner.

"Allowing funding for our critical homeland security assets to lapse would not only be irresponsible and harm many families in Southern Arizona, it would put our national security at risk at an increasingly dangerous time," McSally said in a statement released late Tuesday afternoon.

Obama "clearly overreached with his executive actions, and Congress should act to stop his overreach, but not by putting the safety of Americans at risk," McSally said.

While Grijalva, like McSally, voted for the bill, his take was predictably different.

"Governing by manufactured crisis is not governing at all," he posted on Facebook. "I am glad the political standoff threatening funding for the Department of Homeland Security is over, but what really needs to end is the mentality that somehow it's OK to risk our national security – or the paychecks of those keeping us safe – in an attempt to extract political concessions."

The vote is a victory for congressional Democrats, who used procedural tactics and political maneuvers to divide the Republican majority in both houses.

A stopgap measure passed Friday, with just hours to go before a midnight shutdown, funded DHS for one more week.

Tuesday's appropriation for the rest of the fiscal year resolves an impasse between rightwing Republicans, who want to roll back Obama's immigration policies, and Democrats who wanted a vote on a "clean" funding bill for the department.

Earlier Friday, the House failed to pass a bill that would have extended DHS funding for another three weeks.

That bill failed, 203-224, because some Republicans refused to vote for a measure that did not explicitly block funding for Obama's recent executive actions on immigration.

Nearly every House Democrat joined a majority of Republicans to pass the one-week extension, 357-60.

U.S. Rep. Martha McSally voted with House Speaker John Boehner in favor of the longer extension. U.S. Rep. Raul Grijalva joined the majority of Democrats in the vote; just 12 voted for the three-week extension in a move to pressure the GOP into bringing the "clean" version up for a vote.

McSally also cast a vote in favor of the one-week extension. Grijalva voted against that bill, as well, while many in the Democratic House leadership, including Nancy Pelosi, supported the measure.

U.S. Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick also voted in favor of both bills Friday.

"Keeping our communities safe is a top priority of mine. Instead of holding up funding for the men and women who secure our border and defend our homeland, Congress should act to stop the president’s overreach by doing its job," McSally said in a statement released by her office after the vote.

"I remained committed to ensuring that our homeland security assets are funded and will continue to work with my colleagues to secure our border and fix our broken immigration system," the freshman Republican said.

Following the lead of Republican House leadership, McSally had waited on the Senate to act before saying yea or nay on a "clean" funding bill for DHS. The agency's appropriated funding was set to run out at midnight Friday.

That doesn't mean McSally was mum. She took the opportunity last Wednesday to pen a 500-word op-ed for USA Today, but avoiding saying whether she'd support funding for the agency that isn't tied to blocking Obama's recent executive actions.

Last month, McSally — in one of the "against it before I was for it" moves common in Congress — was one of 26 House Republicans who voted against an amendment targeting the administration's deferred action programs. But she then voted for a DHS appropriation bill that included the amendment stripping funding for Obama's executive action on immigration.

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