The House Republican Study Committee (RSC) unveiled their strategy to Fox News to call out Democrats for blocking any border wall construction or money for additional border agents in their homeland security funding plan. Meanwhile, the largest House conservative caucus Wednesday will offer an alternative bill to buck the Biden adminstration and give money directly to states that want to continue former President Donald Trump’s fight to build the wall with Mexico.
“I believe that protecting our border security through the appropriations process is a Hill to Die On, and I will act accordingly when it comes time to fund our government,” Rep. Jim Banks, R-Ind., the chairman of the RSC, said in a memo to colleagues this week obtained by Fox News.
The Republican Study Committee organized a trip to the border last month with Trump where they raised alarms about the influx of migrants and drugs coming into the United States and called on President Biden to restore Trump-era immigration policies. The 23 House Republicans on the trip visited a portion of the border wall in Texas that was on its way to completion until the Biden adminstration stopped its construction.
“Steel, paid for by taxpayers, is sitting rusting on the ground,” Banks wrote of the border wall situation. “Federal contractors have already received taxpayer dollars and are literally being paid by the Biden administration not to build the wall.”
Texas GOP Gov. Greg Abbott is trying to take matters into his own hands by asking other governors to send law enforcement and military resources to the border to assist with the migrant crisis, while raising private donations and securing state funds to build more border wall.
To help border states directly, on Wednesday, the RSC is introducing legislation to set up a mandatory funding stream to four states – Texas, California, Arizona and New Mexico. The legislation introduced by Rep. Brian Babin, R-Texas, will set up $22 billion in block grants for the 2022 fiscal year for those states if they certify the money will go for border wall construction with Mexico.
Babin said such border states are “overwhelmed by the massive influx of illegal aliens and deadly drugs pouring into their communities” and the Biden administration has ignored their pleas for help.
“Our states have been fighting for border security all alone since January 20, and my hope is that this money will finally give them the resources they need to protect their citizens,” Babin said in a statement to Fox News.
House Democrats already released their proposal for Department of Homeland Security (DHS) appropriations for 2022, which cuts funding for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP). There’s no new money in the Democrats’ plan for additional border agents or a border wall, and it rescinds more than $2 billion from the prior year for border barrier construction.
Democrats say they are prioritizing more “humane” treatment of migrants by funding improvements to the migrant processing systems and reducing backlogs in refugee, asylum and immigration benefit applications.
“We are also taking steps to help (DHS) restore a commitment to the humane treatment of migrants through increased funding for Alternatives to Detention with case management services and reduced lengths of stay in detention for asylum seekers who don’t pose a flight risk and are not a threat to public safety or national security,” Homeland Security Appropriations Subcommittee Chairwoman Lucille Roybal-Allard, D-Calif., said last month when releasing the Democrats’ funding plan.
Funding for government operations expires Sept. 30, and if the Democrat-led Congress can’t pass individual appropriations bills by then, they’ll opt to pass a so-called continuing resolution (CR) that would prevent a government shutdown by funding operations at the current spending levels.
But the head of the RSC made clear he will not go along with a CR because it won’t undo any of Biden’s immigration executive actions and it “locks in place their lawless neglect at the border,” Banks said in his memo.
He said the way Republicans change the situation at the border is to continue to “speak loudly and with conviction” and “use every tool” possible.
“After visiting the border firsthand, I am more convinced than ever this is the path we must take,” Banks wrote his colleagues. “I hope you will join me at making this our top demand as we head into our annual Appropriations fight this year.”