Rep. Cuellar Votes for Bipartisan Package to Reopen the Federal Government

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Includes $1.6 Billion for Border Security, Not a Wall

Congressman Henry Cuellar

Texas Border Business

WASHINGTON — Today, Congressman Henry Cuellar (TX-28), a member of the U.S. House Appropriations Committee and Subcommittees of Homeland Security, Defense and Agriculture, voted in support of H.R. 648, a bipartisan package to reopen the federal government and fund all agencies outside Homeland Security through September 30. This package provides yet another chance for Senate GOP and the President to end the government shutdown, allowing both sides to negotiate a compromise on border security. It also includes language ensuring federal employees who are working without pay or who have been furloughed receive back pay.

“After 33 days, we are continuing to actively take steps to relieve the American people of the unnecessary suffering caused by President Trump’s senseless government shutdown,” said Congressman Cuellar. “In my district, I spoke with constituents who have fallen victim to these unfortunate circumstances. I talked to small business owners, federal law enforcement agents and officers, SNAP recipients, TSA employees, correctional officers, who all share mutual concerns over the government shutdown impacting them and their families. I personally chose to withhold my pay until the government shutdown ends because I not only heard their stories, but I felt their tremendous pain.

“Democrats continue to support strong, smart, and effective border security solutions instead of wasting billions of taxpayer dollars on an ineffective wall. In an effort to resolve the budget impasse, I offered a counter proposal to the Democratic leadership that would provide 21st century border security investments as a compromise to President Trump’s $5.7 billion border wall. It calls for advanced technology to detect drugs and unauthorized crossings, increased customs personnel, and expanded infrastructure at our ports of entry.

“In order to properly reach a compromise, the government first has to reopen and return to regular order. With the government open and federal employee financial uncertainty ended, both sides can meet at the negotiation table to work on a long-term bipartisan compromise.”

This bipartisan six-bill package proposal is based on spending measures negotiated by House and Senate appropriators in the last few months. It will reopen key federal agencies funded under the Agriculture-FDA, Commerce-Justice-Science, Financial Services, Interior-Environment, State-Foreign Operations and Transportation-HUD appropriations bills. This legislation includes a number of Democratic priorities, as well as more than $1.6 billion in border security-related measures:

·         $524.2 million for improvements in ports of entry:  The Financial Services and General Government bill includes $524.2 million for investments in ports of entry, in order to meet the latest security requirements, improve border security, and increase capacity for vehicular traffic.

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·         $563.4 million for additional immigration judges:  The Commerce-Justice-Science bill in the package includes $563.4 million to accelerate the recruitment and hiring of additional immigration judges, in order to address the backlog in processing immigration cases.

·         $527 million for assistance to Central America:  The State-Foreign Operations-Related Programs bill includes $527 million for assistance to Central America, a critical investment in addressing conditions in Central American countries that many migrants are fleeing from.

Congressman Cuellar has continued to offer alternative solutions to the border wall. The following attachment contains 21st century border security investments, as opposed to President Trump’s $5.7 billion request for a 14th century wall.

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