At the end of 2018, President Donald Trump demanded that Congress give his administration $5.6 billion as a down payment to fund border security and construct physical barriers on the southern border. After a month-long government shutdown and nearly three weeks of further bipartisan negotiations, Congress passed a spending bill that did not give the president anything close to what he asked for. This bill was put together behind closed doors, does not adequately secure the border, will prevent President Trump from building the wall, encourages human trafficking with amnesty provisions, and on top of all that wastes money.
The process that both Republicans and Democrats used to bring this $333 billion spending bill to a vote was evil and wrong, and you don’t have to be a conservative to see that. Lawmakers were given fewer than 12 hours to read the text of a 1,169-page bill before the vote, with leadership of both parties aware that if this bill did not pass, the government would shut down. Congress waited until the last minute, again, and rammed through massive spending legislation before voters knew what their representatives were voting for. Both parties did this to hide things from the American people. Such a government is unfit for a free people.
This vote was to fund the government through September 30, setting up another government shutdown fight this fall, putting spending on autopilot, and again kicking the can down the road on addressing the $22 trillion national debt. On the immigration issue, Congress fundamentally undermined President Trump’s agenda and restricted the president’s ability to build the wall. For $1.375 billion, Trump is permitted to construct just 55 miles of border fencing and is only allowed to build these physical barriers in the Rio Grande Valley. The president is also prohibited from building barriers in strategic locations where fencing is needed — but the law is even more restrictive. The federal government is required to consult with local governments, which must approve of any plans for wall construction. The law empowers local Democrats in the Rio Grande Valley to effectively cancel President Trump’s plans to build a wall in their towns.
Perhaps the worst aspect of this law is a section that will grant de facto amnesty to illegal immigrants. Section 224(a) prohibits the deportation of anyone who is sponsoring an “unaccompanied” minor illegal alien – or who says they might sponsor a UAC, or lives in a household with a UAC, or a household that potentially might sponsor a UAC. The Center for Immigration Studies reports that 80 percent of UAC sponsors are in the United States illegally. This part of the border deal uses migrant children to shield these illegal aliens from deportation, granting effective amnesty to an untold number of illegal immigrants and inviting human traffickers to smuggle children to the border and engage in immigration fraud to stay in the United States.
The legislation also contains a cap on ICE’s detention capacity, expands catch-and-release, and a raises pay for federal workers without spending offsets. It is irresponsible legislation in every way imaginable.
This is a truly bipartisan failure. Democrats in the House of Representatives did not have enough votes to pass the bill by themselves. They needed Republicans to support the bill to pass it out of the House. Instead of withholding their votes for a better bill, many Republicans, some of whom claim to be conservatives, voted for the bill. An alternative short-term continuing resolution to keep the government open while lawmakers read what’s in the spending deal, offered by the House Freedom Caucus, was not even considered.
The House of Representatives voted to pass this spending deal on February 14, 2019, at 8:59 p.m. in a roll call vote of 300 – 128.
To see how your elected officials stack up or other votes that compose the Liberty Score, view our full scorecard here.
Conservative position: NO
*Minority party (Republicans) in italics
Boyle, Brendan F.
Davis, Danny K.
Doyle, Michael F.
Horn, Kendra S.
Maloney, Carolyn B.
Roe, David P.
Torres Small (NM)
Rose, John W.
*Minority party (Republicans) in italics
Cortez Masto (D-NV)
Van Hollen (D-MD)