NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

DHS Shutdown could be a Win for Federalism

February 27, 2015

Looming decisions over a funding bill for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) could partially shut down the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). The Republican-led Congress does not want to approve the DHS funding bill because it also funds Obama's recent immigration executive actions. Meanwhile the White House contends shutting down FEMA will cause disruptions that will see negative effects. The disruptions, however, are emblematic of an oversized government, not an immigration issue — but why?

Because the federal government has intervened in the responsibilities of states, local governments and the private sector, federal agency shut-downs create confusion, having taken jurisdiction and resources from the entities closest to the issues. 

FEMA, for example, holds many of the emergency resources needed to keep communities safe from disasters. When they cannot perform their duties because of partial shut-downs, local governments and organizations must pick up the slack though they are under-supplied. These resources include grants to help firefighters, police officers, medical personnel and emergency managers receive the staff, training and equipment needed to respond properly in times of crisis.

Congress could reduce the size and scope of the federal government by voting against the Department of Homeland Security funding bill, and in doing so move the United States closer to federalism.

Source: Chris Edwards, "DHS Shutdown," Cato Institute, February 24, 2015. 


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