Chairman Rogers Statement in Support of H.J. Res. 79, the Border Safety and Security Act

Oct 10, 2013

House Appropriations Committee Chairman Hal Rogers spoke today on the House floor in support of H.J. Res. 79, the Border Safety and Security Act. The House approved this bill on a vote of 249-175.

Chairman Rogers's statement follows:

"Mr. Speaker, I rise today in support of H.J. Res. 79, the Border Safety and Security Act. This bill will help protect our homeland from terrorists, drug traffickers, smugglers, and other criminals, and facilitates legal immigration and ongoing investigations.

"Right now, our frontline operations are operating at a bare minimum. The men and women who are at work to protect our borders and our ports of entry are working without pay. And employers cannot guarantee the lawful immigration status of their prospective employees.

"To reinstate these critical functions, H.J. Res. 79 provides funding for Border Security efforts at the current, annual rate of $18.8 billion. This includes funding for Customs and Border Protection, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Coast Guard, Citizenship and Immigration Services, and the Office of Biometric Identity Management.

"These are functions of the federal government that are critical to our safety and well-being – they should not have to suffer the effects of this shutdown.

"But if we pass this bill today – and if the Senate passes it, and the President signs it into law - it will stop any further adverse effects from befalling our border security, while we work toward reopening the entire federal government.

"Piece by piece, the Republican House has been working toward reopening the government over the past week – and we’ve done this all with no help and no input from the Senate.

"The only thing we’ve heard from the Senate is a resounding “No” – no to working with us on a task force or committee to reopen the federal government, and no to talking with us about our concerns over the multitude of fiscal crises we face.

"Despite this, the House has passed 15 bills funding the federal government over the past week – on top of the continuing resolutions we put forward prior to the end of the fiscal year, and the regular appropriations bills the House passed. Imagine what we could do if the Senate would come to the table and work with us.

"There is no question about it – we are never going to be able to get out of this mess if we don’t come together, have a real, adult conversation, listen to each other earnestly, and negotiate in good faith. This crisis can’t be solved by one party alone. This bill is an effort to keep the ball moving toward our goal of ending this government shutdown.

"The Senate has asked for a clean CR to achieve that end. The funding in this bill is clean, and in-line with spending from the last fiscal year.  It is essentially what I put forward in my initial, clean CR. So I hope that with that in mind, this House, and the Senate, will pass this bill in short order. Thank you."