Time is Running Short as DHS Shutdown Looms


*Last Updated: March 3, 2015 at 11:50am

GBTA has been talking for weeks about the serious, unintended consequences on business travel if the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) funding bill fails to pass leading to a shutdown. Absent a full year funding bill, business travel can easily be disrupted, causing an immediate impact on our economy. For every one percent decrease in business travel spending, the U.S. economy loses an additional 71,000 jobs, nearly $5 billion in GDP, $3 billion in wages and $1.2 billion in tax collections.

With the February 27 deadline quickly approaching, others are beginning to take notice and talk about what it means if DHS doesn’t get funded and a shutdown occurs.

Here is the latest news on the topic:

The Washington Post reported on Sunday that GOP discord is undercutting efforts to fund DHS. The article says the deeply divided party can’t stop a Homeland Security shutdown on its own, but a conservative faction is doing everything it can to prevent collaboration with Democrats on a funding bill.


 

USA Today reported that Congress narrowly averted a partial shutdown of the Department of Homeland Security late Friday as both the House and Senate passed a seven-day stop gap extension of funding for the agency just two hours before the deadline.


According to The Washington Post, House Republicans on Thursday presented a plan for a stopgap bill that would fund the Department of Homeland Security for three weeks, raising hopes of averting a looming shutdown of the agency. It is unsure how the Senate Democrats will react to this, but even if it passes it only delays another potential crisis situation.


USA Today breaks down what we know today about the potential DHS Shutdown from why and just how divisive the immigration amendments are to what will the House do if the Senate passes a “clean bill” and what happens if Congress doesn’t agree by the Friday deadline.

NBC News reports that the Senate appears to be close to voting on a clean funding bill for DHS, but that it is unclear whether the House will also pass the bill or return it to the Senate with new amendments attached again. House Republicans will meet at 5 p.m. ET Thursday to discuss their strategy.

The National Journal reported Speaker of the House John Boehner won’t budge on the DHS funding issue, but that he won’t say whether or not the House would vote on a “clean bill” passed by the Senate.

The Washington Post writes that even the specter of a shutdown, no matter if it is averted before the deadline or not, will haunt DHS. “If Congress wants an efficient and engaged workforce in an agency this critical to our national security, it needs to do its part, too,” the article says.


Wondering why a DHS Shutdown really matters when so many DHS employees are considered essential employees and will have to report to work anyways? CBS News highlights five things that will happen if Congress doesn’t fund Homeland Security.

Today Politico reported that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell put forward a strategy that would separate the DHS funding vote from the immigration battle allowing one vote on funding DHS, which would last through September 30, and another vote on Friday regarding the immigration issues. Democrats are hesitant to accept though and are skittish about the clean bill’s prospect to pass the House.

Politico also highlighted TSA employee concerns about having to work without pay in today’s Morning Transportation newsletter.

The New York Times writes that just over a year after the entire federal government shut down for 16 days in October 2013, Homeland Security officials are preparing for another worst-case situation.  The article talks about how the furloughs would impact TSA as many security screeners who will be working without pay will have to take on the administrative tasks of those deemed non-essential.

This Huffington Post article talks with Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson about the major problems out of the public eye that will occur if DHS shuts down.

In The Washington Post, Senator John McCain calls the ruling last week by a federal judge in Texas to stall President Obama’s executive action on immigration “an exit sign”. Republicans could use this as a way to fight the immigration actions without risking the shutdown of a critical agency, but it appears Republicans are divided on how to approach this.

Articles on business travel and the potential DHS Shutdown:

In Homeland Security Funding Standoff, Business Travelers Face Uncertainty – The New York Times

Lawmakers Look for Way Out of DHS Funding Impasse – USA Today

A New Security Headache – Gulliver Business Travel Blog – The Economist

Business Travel Group: Effects of Homeland Security Shutdown Could be Dire – Associations Now

Business Travel Group Warns of Financial Hit if TSA Funding Cut – Skift

Business Travelers Face Huge Disruption in USA – Conference and Meetings World

GBTA Alarmed by DHS Funding Fight’s Impact on Business Travel – Travel Industry Wire

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