House Democrats: Don’t Sneak Wasteful $1.6B Border Wall Vote into Military Funding Bill
Washington, DC – Today, Congressman Ruben Gallego (D-AZ) and several House Democrats held a press conference calling on House Republican Leadership to reconsider using a self-executing rule to fund President Trump’s border wall.
Using a deceptive legislative gimmick, House Republicans will add $1.6 billion in funding for the wall to a “minibus” funding bill, avoiding a clean up-or-down vote.
Members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus also sent a letter today to Rules Committee Chairman Pete Sessions urging him to allow the House to separately consider whether to fund the wall.
“I’m proud to stand with Rep. Gallego and my colleagues in the Congressional Hispanic Caucus who are standing up against Republicans’ legislative gimmick to sneak funding for a border wall into their ‘minibus’ bill,” said Democratic Whip Steny H. Hoyer. “A border wall won’t do anything to make this country any safer, and wastes taxpayer money that would be better spent on strengthening our national security and promoting economic growth. Democrats will continue to oppose this ineffective wall.”
“Not only is the border wall expensive and unnecessary, but Members of Congress who care deeply about our national defense shouldn’t be forced to decide between voting for the wall and voting to fund our military,” said Rep. Ruben Gallego (AZ-07), a Marine Corps veteran who fought in Iraq. “House Republicans are clearly embarrassed that they are stroking Trump’s ego by funding a dumb wall that we don’t need and can’t afford – and that’s why they are resorting to legislative gimmickry in order to avoid a clean up-or-down vote. That’s simply wrong. On such a momentous issue, the American people deserve to know where their elected representatives stand.”
“A border wall like the one Republicans slipped into a military spending bill this week will not help, but only make a bad situation worse,” said Rep. Luis V. Gutiérrez (IL-04), Chair of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus’s Immigration Task Force. “Forcing people to enter the black market because there is no way to go through our visa system means we will hear about smuggling tragedies like the one in Texas this weekend more often because we have failed to create and maintain a functioning immigration system.”
“Republicans have taken a nonsensical approach by burying border wall funding in the national security-focused omnibus funding bill,” said Rep. Filemon Vela (TX-34). Voting against border wall funding will protect hard-working Americans from seeing their tax dollars wasted on a ruse to secure our border.”
“This bill should be about providing critical funds to keep our service members safe, take care of our veterans and to support necessary defense programs that safeguard our national security; it should not be about helping President Trump keep a campaign promise that has no grounding in sense or reality,” said Rep. Pete Aguilar (CA-31). “House Republicans’ reckless decision to force the American people to pay for a wall that does nothing to increase our security or solve the real problems facing our immigration system is both wasteful and counterproductive.”
“Trump’s border wall will divide communities, separate families, and perpetuate fear and hate throughout immigrant communities around the nation,” said Rep. Adriano Espaillat (NY-13). “I have stood strong and firm in my opposition to this dangerous precedent, including my push of an anti-wall bill as my first piece of legislation introduced in Congress, and today is no different. In their latest sneak attempt to push $1.6 billion dollars into the ‘minibus’ fiscal 2018 appropriations package in an effort to build this physical obstruction, now along the border near San Diego and in the Rio Grande Valley in Texas, Republicans are failing to elevate our country and confidence at home and abroad. This bill isn’t about funding the military or improving our national security, it’s about the Republicans’ breach of transparency and trust to the American people by avoiding a clean up-or-down vote on a decision that will greatly impact us all.”