House Leadership Eyes Wall Funding in December
By Heather Ham-Warren | October 12, 2018
With their majority at stake in the upcoming midterm elections, House Republican leaders are signaling to voters that they intend to fund President Trump’s border wall in December. “We intend on having a full-fledged discussion on how to complete our mission to secure the border, and yes, we will have a fight about this,” Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.) said at a news conference last week.
To recap, Congress failed to reach an agreement on several spending bills by the September 30th deadline, including: Interior and Environment, Financial Services, Housing and Urban Development, Agriculture, Commerce, Justice and Science, State and Foreign Operations, and Homeland Security. To avoid a government shutdown, these bills were attached to a “minibus” of two other spending bills in the form of a continuing resolution through December 7, which Congress passed and the president signed shortly after. As such, the primary bill Republicans and Democrats will be arguing over leading up to the December 7 deadline will be the one that funds the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).
Interestingly, it is Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) who will be leading Republicans into battle when election season comes to a close. Last week, the Majority Leader introduced H.R. 7059, the “Build the Wall, Enforce the Law Act,” which would provide full funding – around $23 billion – for a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. The bill also includes other FAIR-supported enforcement proposals like Kate’s Law, the No Sanctuary for Criminals Act, the Criminal Alien Gang Member Removal Act, as well as the highly-debated resolution honoring U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officers and personnel. While it is unlikely that the McCarthy legislation will be the vehicle for wall funding in December, the bill’s introduction serves as a gesture to voters that House Republicans are committed to delivering on the President’s signature campaign promise as part of a DHS spending bill.
“For decades, America’s inability to secure our borders and stop illegal immigration has encouraged millions to undertake a dangerous journey to come here in violation of our laws and created a huge loophole to the legal channels to the immigration process where America welcomes immigrants to our country,” McCarthy said in a statement to Breitbart News. “President Trump’s election was a wakeup call to Washington. The American people want us to build the wall and enforce the law. Maintaining strong borders is one of the basic responsibilities of any nation. For too long, America has failed in this responsibility.”
The reality is that the December DHS spending bill could be the only real opportunity for Congress to fund the border wall in President Trump’s first term. Additionally, it is an opportunity for McCarthy to win over the more conservative members of his party before the Republican Conference votes to replace outgoing Speaker Ryan. Therefore, members of the conference will be cautiously eyeing McCarthy as he works to secure border wall funding in what will surely be a hotly contested debate.