Funding will expire for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security in two weeks.This means that checks will stop coming for fire departments that depend on various federal grants, says Steve Iovinelli, chairman of the Illinois Fire Services Organization – grants which he says are needed where he’s the chief, in Franklin Park, pop. 18,400.
“These dollars are also essential to the smaller rural departments that serve a large portion of our state. Without these funding opportunities, smaller volunteer department wouldn’t even be able to exist to serve their communities, and also to protect the firefighters with the proper gear and the proper equipment that they need to do their job,” he said at a news conference Friday afternoon in Chicago.
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U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) says this is politics; Republicans have tied Homeland Security funding to repealing the president’s executive orders on immigration. Durbin proposed a “clean” bill to fund Homeland Security, but that bid was rejected by the majority leader.
U.S. Sen. Mark S. Kirk (R-Ill.) says he agrees with the Democrats on this issue. He says Republicans never should have fought this battle on Homeland Security funding.
If funding expires, airport security personnel would remain on the job, but they would not be paid until the agency budget is resolved.