Congressional Republicans complain about border security as they vote against funding it
After repeatedly voting against border security funding, Republicans are pushing debt ceiling legislation that would likely slash existing funding by 22%.
Since President Joe Biden took office in 2021, congressional Republicans have hammered him with claims of a border crisis and lies that Democrats want open borders. But as they continue to demand more border security, most of the same GOP lawmakers are pushing a bill that could slash funding for it by 22%.
“On Joe Biden’s watch, illicit fentanyl poisoning is wreaking havoc on American families. The Biden administration’s reckless open border policies have created a national security, public health, and humanitarian catastrophe. We MUST secure the border #BidenBorderCrisis,” tweeted Oklahoma Sen. Markwayne Mullin on Thursday.
“President Biden’s open border policy is an attack on every county in America,” South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott said a day earlier. “A nation without borders is a nation devoid of law and liberty. Restoring hope in the future of America starts with securing our border.”
Both were among 43 Senate Republicans who signed a May 6 letter to Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer endorsing demands by their House GOP counterparts that significant spending cuts be paired with any move to avert a catastrophic default on the national debt.
“The Senate Republican conference is united behind the House Republican conference in support of spending cuts and structural reform as a starting point for negotiations on the debt ceiling,” they wrote in the letter.
On April 26, with no Democratic support, House Republicans passed the Limit, Save, Grow Act, which would cut all programs in the federal budget by 22%, with no adjustments for inflation. The bill contained no language exempting veterans’ benefits, the Social Security Administration, or the agencies responsible for border security.
Zephranie Buetow, an assistant secretary for legislative affairs at the Department of Homeland Security, on March 19 sent a letter to Connecticut Democratic Rep. Rosa DeLauro, the ranking member of the House Committee on Appropriations, in which she said that those proposed cuts would harm national security:
The entire Department and the critical services we provide would be impacted, including but not limited to the following:
- A reduction in CBP frontline law enforcement staffing levels of up to 2,400 agents and officers;
- A reduction in our Department’s ability to prevent drugs from entering the country;
- Cuts in federal assistance to state, local, tribal, territorial, and private sector partners for disaster preparedness; and
- Reductions in TSA personnel that would result in wait times in excess of 2 hours at large airports across the country.
Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas announced on May 11 that the Biden administration was rebooting its asylum process following the end of the COVID-19 national health emergency and urged comprehensive immigration reform.
He told reporters: “Our current situation is the outcome of Congress leaving a broken, outdated immigration system in place for over two decades, despite unanimous agreement that we desperately need legislative reform. It is also the result of Congress’ decision not to provide us with the resources we need and that we requested.”
In the previous Congress, most GOP lawmakers voted repeatedly against laws that contained funding for the border security they demanded.
In 2021, 30 Senate Republicans and 200 House Republicans voted against the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, which included $430 million for Customs and Border Protection to spend on “the construction and modernization of land ports of entry and equipment and fixtures for operations” and $3 billion “for critical investments in CBP’s Border Patrol stations and land ports of entry.”
Last year, 29 Republican senators and 200 GOP representatives opposed an appropriations package containing $6.3 billion for security operations at the nation’s northern and southern borders.
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.
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