Colorado and the Homeland Security fight

DENVER-- The US Department of Homeland Security runs out of money at the end of this week amid a congressional fight over the Obama administration's actions on immigration.

The most visible face of DHS in Colorado would be the people in those blue TSA uniforms, who would still show up to work during a shutdown because they're considered essential, though they wouldn't get paid until Congress ended the impasse.

RELATED STORY: What happens if DHS shuts down?

On NBC's Meet the Press, DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson made the case the "non-essential" personnel are still essential to what his department does.

"If we go into government shutdown, some 30,000 employees of my department will be furloughed," Johnson said. "Including some headquarters personnel who I count on daily to stay ahead of groups like ISIL."

The department is home to a number of agencies including the Coast Guard, Immigrations and Customs Enforcement, and Customs and Border Protection.

Democrats want a "clean" funding bill for the department to keep it going as is, and they've yet to budge.

One prominent Republican in Colorado's delegation agrees with them, at least on the funding question.

Rep. Mike Coffman (R-Colorado) supports a clean spending bill, his office told 9NEWS, pointing to the recent court ruling in Texas as proof that the President can be blocked without the need for Congress to use the power of the purse.

Other Republicans are insisting on a bill that funds everything but the controversial steps by President Obama to grant temporary legal status to more immigrants.

Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Colorado) falls into that category, arguing Democrats should allow a Senate vote on the GOP version of the bill.

"If Senate Democrats have concerns with the legislation proposed to fund DHS, they should allow it to come to the floor and be debated," Gardner said in a written statement. "Republicans have shown that we are committed to a full, robust debate over amendments to legislation. Instead, Senate Democrats are playing politics with our national security."

"It doesn't look like a winner, in my opinion," said 9NEWS political analyst Floyd Ciruli, who says beyond the appearance of gridlock, the budget fight is like playing with fire.

"If there is one attack in any mall or almost anyplace else that there is a sense that the homeland security operation might have been able to deal with better had they been fully funded and not distracted with this, who loses? I think the Republicans would lose," Ciruli said.

And there's still plenty of time to avoid a shutdown.

"They could unwind it in about 5 minutes if they wanted to," Ciruli said.

The question is: Will anyone budge by Friday night?

(KUSA-TV © 2015 Multimedia Holdings Corporation)


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