Fleischmann Remarks on FY20 DHS Funding Bill: “Provisions in this bill fail to address the urgent needs at our southern border and hamstring humanitarian efforts.”
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congressman Chuck Fleischmann (TN-03), Ranking Member of the House Appropriations Homeland Security subcommittee delivered remarks in opposition to the Fiscal Year 2020 Department of Homeland Security spending bill.
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Excerpts from Congressman Fleischmann’s remarks can be found below.
“We have broad agreement on so many areas of funding in this bill. We all hear from many the same constituencies. We all care about the safety and security of the people in our country, and the people at the Department, and so much of this bill actually reflects that shared concern and priorities for investment.
Unfortunately, there are places where we disagree, and those disagreements, respectfully, are vast. In its current form, the minority cannot support this bill.
This bill does not include a single dollar for continued border fence construction. Not one dollar. Further, it takes money away from what we provided last year. We suffered a very unfortunate government shutdown over the past year over the border fence funds. Respectfully, I do not believe it is prudent not to provide any funds in this bill when we know that to get this bill cannot get enacted – maybe no bill can get enacted, unless we have funds for border security.
The levels of funding for ICE are also another important difference between the majority and minority positions, and the lack of funds flexibility is another issue of great concern to the minority. ICE needs to be able to respond to the influx of people at the border, and they need to be able to follow up with detaining and transporting people back to their countries after being issued an order of removal. This bill limits beds at 34,000 and unfortunately ends family detention beds by the year 2019. Both of these issues are unacceptable to the minority.
Further, ICE needs to be able to send people back to their countries who are convicted of criminal acts. We have laws about asylum, but we also have laws about removal, which should and must be executed with the same care and diligence.
To my colleagues we have a crisis in my view with a capital “C”at the border. It’s not exaggerated. We need funds for Customs and Border Protection. We need funds for ICE. We need to address the crowding at the border. We need to recognize that thousands of people are coming to our borders every single day and we are not prepared for them, and they are not showing any signs of slowing down. We need a supplemental and we need to follow up with funds in the regular appropriations bill.
Having addressed those issues of difference, let me now turn to the fact where we have major agreements. The Department is more than just CBP and ICE. We need the funds that are proposed in this bill for all the agencies that are working every day of every week in our communities to keep our people safe – the great United States Coast Guard, the Cybersecurity Agency, TSA, Secret Service, FEMA, and all the components of the Department. I respectfully thank the Chairwoman for all she has done for these agencies under the allocation, especially where increases are proposed to address critical needs across the Department.
I also thank you, Madame Chair, for accommodating so many requests for reports, briefings, direction, and dollars at the request of many of our colleagues on both sides of the aisle.
The minority does not have any amendments today. I look forward to next week in Full Committee, where I’m sure we will visit some of these issues.”