Lowey statement at subcommittee markup of FY 2019 Homeland Security appropriations bill
Thank you, Chairman Yoder, Ranking Member Roybal-Allard, and Chairman Frelinghuysen for holding this markup today. Mr. Yoder, welcome to your first markup as Chairman of the subcommittee.
It is outrageous that House Republicans have prioritized unnecessary funds for President Trump’s border wall and cruel immigration policies rather than fighting terrorism through substantial new investments in first responder grants or growing the economy and creating jobs through job training, making college more affordable, or research and development initiatives.
Meanwhile the Senate has marked up 12 bipartisan bills, avoiding poison pill riders instead of wasting time on partisan bills with no chance of enactment.
Democrats are united in opposition to large increases in ICE detention beds and hiring hundreds of new personnel to carry out the Administration’s overly aggressive interior enforcement policies.
While other allocations are flat, this bill would waste $4.9 billion – more than the bill’s entire increase – on a border wall. That is three times the President’s already absurd $1.6 billion request. We have a duty to spend taxpayer dollars wisely, not waste them on radical campaign promises the public opposes and would do nothing to make us more secure. It was the President’s obsession with immigration that led to the family separation travesty; we should not be enabling any more of his divisive policies.
To make matters worse, the bill fails to provide any of the requested $750 million for a new Coast Guard heavy icebreaker. This is an area where Russia is vastly outperforming us: we have two icebreakers, one of which is so old that the crew has to find replacement parts on e-bay, while our adversary has dozens. It’s a disgrace.
We all know any hope for enactment of appropriations will require bipartisan bills that make sound investments. Yet again, a House Republican bill is moving us backwards.
As the process moves forward, I hope this bill can be significantly improved so that we invest in real security programs.