OXON HILL, Md. (AP) — Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal on Thursday had a tough message for fellow Republicans who were wrestling with how to fund the Homeland Security Department: "Grow a spine."
Jindal spoke as House Republicans were considering a short-term funding fix to prevent a partial agency shutdown. To party activists huddled near Washington at the annual Conservative Political Action Conference, Jindal lashed out at a potential reversal of campaign pledges to derail President Barack Obama's immigration overhaul.
"We elected these Republicans. They told us that if we gave them the Senate majority, they would stand up to this unconstitutional and illegal act," said Jindal, who is considering a bid for the Republican presidential nomination.
Jindal suggested Republicans who kept control of the House and captured the majority in the Senate last November's elections were caving to Obama.
"It is time for our Republican leaders in Congress to grow a spine," he said. "It's time for them to do the job we elected them to do."
Republicans initially demanded that no money be approved for the Homeland Security Department as long as Obama's immigration directives remained in place. With directives issued in 2012 and earlier this year, Obama largely eliminated the threat of deportation for more than 4 million immigrants who entered the country illegally, including some brought to the U.S. as youngsters.
But without legislation signed into law by the weekend, an estimated 30,000 Homeland Security employees would be furloughed beginning Monday. Another 200,000 would be expected to work without pay.
Under an emerging proposal, the agency would receive funds with no strings attached for perhaps three weeks. The House would also approve a separate measure to allow normal agency operations through the end of the budget year on Sept. 30, but only in exchange for immigration-related concessions from the White House.
"The Republicans are about to wave the white flag of surrender on amnesty," Jindal said. "We have to tell them that we won't stand for that."
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