Deal to avert shutdown held up over Homeland Security fight

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A bipartisan deal to fund swaths of the government and avert a shutdown later this week is hitting a snag as negotiations over the annual Homeland Security Department (DHS) spending bill sputter. 

The package initially planned for release Sunday would have included five full-year funding bills covering the departments of Defense, Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and State, along with the Internal Revenue Service and general government and foreign operations.

Congressional leaders had also planned for a stopgap measure for DHS, seen as the toughest funding bill in the bunch, as deep partisan divisions remain in Washington on the border and immigration.

However, the timeline for the package’s release is slipping after recent involvement from the White House in negotiations, Republicans say.

A source familiar with the matter said part of the dispute is that Democrats are pressing for more funding for pay equity for the Transportation Security Administration, while Republicans want more dollars for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s detention and enforcement efforts.

The Hill has reached out to the White House and Democratic congressional leadership for comment.

The development comes after a White House official told Politico on Sunday that Republicans wanted to “underfund DHS” after rejecting an offer from Democrats for an extra $1.56 billion in funding for border security. 

However, Raj Shah, deputy chief of staff to Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.), pushed back on the report Sunday, saying “this statement from an unnamed White House staffer is misleading and counterproductive to reaching a bipartisan agreement to avoid a government shutdown.”

“House Republicans will continue to work in good faith to reach consensus on the appropriations bills that reprioritizes DHS funding towards enforcing border and immigration laws,” Shah added. 

Congress has until Friday to pass legislation to keep various parts of the government funded or risk its first partial government shutdown in years. 

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