Bill Flores Discusses the Latest from Washington
by Bill Flores on July 1, 2019 at 1:46 PM
I issued the following statements regarding H.R. 3401, the Emergency Supplemental Appropriations for Humanitarian Assistance and Security at the Southern Border Act; appropriations bills H.R. 3055 and H.R. 3351; and H.R. 2722, the Securing America’s Federal Elections Act:
Several weeks ago, the Trump administration requested $4.5 billion in emergency funding for the Departments of Health and Human Services, Homeland Security, Defense, and Justice to address the growing crises at our southern border. Since then, the House Democrat Majority engaged in an agenda of political gamesmanship and refused to work with Republicans by blocking our repeated requests to vote on H.R. 3056, the Border Crisis Supplemental Appropriations Act. This bill provided the necessary funding that the Trump administration unequivocally proved was needed to deliver adequate care and services for the burgeoning illegal immigrant population at our southern border.
Critically needed federal resources are being quickly exhausted as agencies work to take care of the major influx of unaccompanied children brought to our country illegally, many of whom need medical care. Instead of working with Republicans on a bipartisan solution to fully fund the agencies facing these crises, House Democrats attempted to shift blame for the crises and worsened the situation by bringing forth a partisan bill full of poison pills that would have tied the hands of the administration’s efforts to respond to the crises. That bill did not provide the resources needed to investigate human traffickers smuggling children across the border or to address the shortage of judges and support staff needed to work through the immigration backlog. It also denied resources for tens of millions of dollars for overtime pay earned by our nation’s border security personnel as they work to ensure the security and safety of our borders.
Fortunately, the Senate acted in a responsible and non-political manner by passing a bill to address the humanitarian crisis by an overwhelmingly bipartisan 84-8 vote. After growing pressure from the American public, the Trump administration, Republicans and moderate Democrats, Speaker Pelosi finally allowed the House to vote on the Senate bill, which passed overwhelmingly. The bill will now be signed by President Trump and the critical resources will flow to the border area. While this bill was not perfect, it had my support because it immediately provides the urgent resources requested by the Trump administration to care for migrants and unaccompanied children without the devastating limitations of the House bill.
The root problems of our immigration, humanitarian and border security crises are not the fault of the Trump administration, rather they are solely the result of weaknesses in current law. Only Congress can fix them by enacting 21st century immigration and border security policies. Going forward, Congress must work on solutions that ultimately secure our border and reform our broken immigration system to reverse these crises and protect the safety and security of hardworking American families. Congress must put hardworking families ahead of politics and address these crises in a bipartisan manner. Every day of delay hurts American families, keeps the American economy from reaching its full potential, keeps Dreamers in the shadows, causes pain and suffering at the border, and weakens our national security.
H.R. 3055 and H.R. 3351
This week, the House continued working through the appropriations process to fund the federal government for fiscal year 2020. The House considered another set of hyper-partisan appropriations bills intended to fund federal departments including Commerce, Justice, Agriculture, Interior, Veterans Affairs, Transportation, House and Urban Development, and Treasury. These bills are fiscally irresponsible and call for increased spending levels $176 billion above current budget caps. They also fail to provide the necessary funding to address the crises at our southern border, jeopardize our national security by allowing terrorists imprisoned at Guantanamo Bay to come to the U.S., and impose Green New Deal type regulations on farmers. All my Republican colleagues and I once again voted against these reckless spending bills because they put the economic opportunity and security of hardworking American families at risk. This was yet another exercise in wasting time on an uber-partisan agenda. Instead, the House should be working with the Senate and President Trump on a budget agreement to avoid another possible government shutdown and potential sequestration. We cannot allow another occurrence of sequestration, which would impose devastating cuts to prior bipartisan initiatives which are rebuilding and modernizing our military to meet today’s threats.
Free, fair and secure elections are paramount to our democracy. Securing our elections should not be a partisan issue, yet the House Democrat Majority once again cut off all bipartisan efforts to address this issue as they push their hyper-partisan agenda. Earlier this year, the Democrat Majority passed their partisan election reform bill, H.R. 1, which ultimately mandates millions in taxpayer dollars to fund political races. The American public loudly rejected this attempt to federalize the states’ Constitutional responsibilities to administer our elections. In light of that rejection, House Democrats rolled out H.R. 2722, again on a partisan basis. This bill also proposes another federal election takeover of states’ voting processes, and even mandates the return to legacy paper ballots rather than allowing for the use of secure, auditable, 21st century voting systems. One of the interesting parts of watching this process was watching House Members use our electronic voting system on a bill which would mandate the use of earlier centuries’ paper ballots – I had to chuckle to myself about the contrast of watching House Democrats moving voting processes backward while attempting to give federal bureaucrats control of our Constitutional right to vote. I voted against this bill because it fails to adequately address potential foreign interference in our election process, and it creates a federally mandated, top-down approach that completely ignores the Constitutional authorities of state and local governments.
If House Democrats are serious about addressing election security and foreign interference, they should join Republicans to pass a bill which I support and have cosponsored, H.R. 3412, the Election Security Assistance Act. This balanced bill gives local election officials additional resources to secure elections while respecting states’ rights regarding voting processes.