Homeland Subcommittee Ranking Member Rogers Statement on the Democrats’ Last-Minute, Flawed Border Security Spending Bill
WASHINGTON, D.C. – The House today considered last-minute, hastily crafted legislation to provide funding for increased homeland security resources for border areas in the U.S. The legislation was unveiled just this morning, was not considered by any committee, has several critical policy flaws, and is being jammed through by the Democrat majority before the House recesses for the August work period this week.
House Appropriations Homeland Security Subcommittee Ranking Member Hal Rogers gave the following statement in opposition to the flawed bill:
“Let me start by saying that I take a back seat to no one on border security. I’ve read the intelligence reports. I’ve had the briefings. I’ve led and supported robust funding for Coast Guard, CBP, ICE, DoJ, and local law enforcement agencies. I’ve implored – practically begged – the White House and the Democrat Majority to recognize the spill-over violence from this heinous drug war raging in Mexico. I’ve pushed for a new joint command along the Southwest border. And finally, I’ve been first in line calling for a serious, sustained approach to breaking the backs of the cartels and enforcing our immigration laws.
“Unfortunately, Madam Speaker, this bill is not a serious, sustained response. Rather, this is little more than a cynical knee-jerk, political ploy. I have three concerns with this bill: First, this “suspension” bill is not paid for. At a time of record deficit spending, why can’t we at least attempt to find the prudent offsets necessary to address our nation’s border security needs? Second, this bill circumvents regular order – these expenditures should be considered as part of the FY11 Homeland Security process. The very same process that was derailed by the majority yesterday via the last minute cancellation of our full committee markup. Third, and perhaps most disappointing, this bill is woefully inadequate and the wrong mix of security – leaving gaping holes at the Judiciary, CBP and the Coast Guard. If we’re going to do this, let’s do it right.
“$500 million out of the bill’s $701 million price tag is borrowed money. So, in many ways, this bill is addressing one urgent security issue and creating another. While border security is indeed a priority, our skyrocketing debt and continued deficit spending have the makings of a genuine national security crisis.
We can no longer ignore our debt, continue to recklessly spend, call everything an “emergency”, and simply hope it will go away. We must make the tough, disciplined decisions at every level and on every issue. So, these border security enhancements can and should be paid for via responsible offsets.
“More to this point, why can’t we consider these obvious funding needs as part of the FY11 Department of Homeland Security appropriations bill? The majority took six months to consider a true emergency – funding our troops – and sent that bill through a tangled, politicized labyrinth. The White House only woke up to this drug violence in June with a haphazard request. Which begs the question, where is the Administration’s and Democrat majority’s commitment to security?
“Instead, yesterday, the Democrat majority cancelled the full committee markup of the FY11 bill just ten minutes before it was scheduled to begin. And, for what? So that we can turn to this suspension bill, borrow more money, and then ignore all of the other vital homeland security issues for the coming year? Addressing the critical needs facing our nation’s aviation security, immigration enforcement, disaster response, and cyber security are now left dead in the water, with little hope of resurrection.
“Or, was the last minute cancellation of the markup for some other, more political reason like the fact that Arizona’s new, tough immigration enforcement law is in the midst of a contentious law suit?
“Madam Speaker, the murderous drug war along the border demands serious solutions; not reckless spending, a flawed process, and political games.
“As it were, I was prepared to offer a responsible, completely offset amendment at markup that would have achieved this goal and included many of Chairman Obey’s ideas. And, the minority was prepared to take a strong stand in defense of the Arizona immigration enforcement law – a law that simply makes being illegally present in the United States against the law. Sadly, thanks to the dictatorial tactics of the Democrat majority, we don’t get a chance to offer – let alone debate – these sound amendments.
“So, let’s get our border security right. Let’s provide the right mix of enforcement resources to combat the ruthless drug cartels, but let’s do so through regular order in a fiscally responsible way.
“This bill – just like President Obama’s flawed request – neglects our counter-smuggling needs in the source and transit zones, fails to fully address aerial surveillance shortfalls, and ignores the Judicial resources required to follow through on enforcement actions.
“If only the Democrat majority would be willing to take up the regular FY11 DHS and CJS appropriations bills, we could consider and debate the improvement of our border security in such a way that all of these issues could be addressed, and paid for.
“Sadly, that is not the case here today. So, I have grave reservations about this bill and this process. While I wholeheartedly believe we can and must do more to shore up our porous border, I believe we can do far better.”