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With No Plan From Congress, Homeland Security Improvises

Congress left Washington without agreeing on a funding plan for the unaccompanied minors coming over the Southern U.S. border, so the Obama administration's Department of Homeland Security is creating one on its own.

"I have been left with no choice but to reprogram money away from other homeland security missions," Secretary Jeh Johnson said in a statement.

A total of $405 million is being moved from other programs to keep Immigration and Customs Enforcement and Customs and Border Protection from running out of money in the coming weeks as they deal with the border crisis. DHS wrote Congress on Aug. 1 with the specifics:

  • $267.6 million is coming from the Federal Emergency Management Agency's disaster relief account;
  • $31.5 million from the Coast Guard, which will delay maintenance of agency vessels;
  • $34.7 million from the Transportation Security Administration, delaying maintenance of airport security screening equipment;
  • $70.5 million will come from other programs within Customs and Border Protection.

Johnson wrote:

"I was disappointed that Congress left for its August recess without acting on the President's request for supplemental funding to support the men and women of this Department who have worked overtime to respond to the urgent situation. I hope when Congress returns in September it will act quickly on the request."

S.V. Dáte edits congressional and campaign finance coverage for NPR's Washington Desk.

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