If Congress doesn’t act before February 27, the Department of Homeland Security is going to run out of money and go into a partial shutdown. (Eighty-five percent of employees would still be working, but they wouldn’t be getting paid.)
But the nonchalance with which both parties are treating the prospect of a Department of Homeland Security shutdown raises a big policy question: why does the department even exist?
The answer is that it shouldn’t, and it never should have. DHS was a mistake to begin with. Instead of solving the coordination problems it was supposed to solve, it simply duplicated efforts already happening in other federal departments. And attempts to control and distinguish the department have politicized it to the point where it can’t function smoothly — and might be threatening national security.
The answer appears to be that the problems built deep in the department haven’t aided national security — and might have damaged it.