Senate Republicans Reject Leahy/Tester Amendments To Invest In Real National Security, Protect Funding For Our Troops, And Constrain President Trump’s Cruel And Ineffective Immigration Policies

WASHINGTON (THURSDAY, Sept. 26, 2019) – Senate Appropriations Committee Republicans Thursday rejected a series of amendments offered by Senate Appropriations Committee Vice Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) and Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Homeland Security Ranking Member Jon Tester (D-Mont.) aimed at investing in real national security, protecting funding for our troops, and reining in President Trump’s cruel and ineffective immigration policies. 

Leahy said: “This administration has demonstrated repeatedly that it cannot be trusted as good stewards of taxpayer’s hard earned dollars or to carry out the bipartisan will of Congress.  It is disappointing that Republicans once again refused to rein in the abuses of this President, his cruel immigration policies, or his ineffective wall, which he promised Mexico would pay for.”

Tester said: “This bill includes $5 billion to build an ineffective border wall at the expense of American taxpayers— a wall that will do nothing to fix the current situation at the border and that comes at the expense of the critical programs that actually protect Americans from threats. We just saw the President ransack $6.1 billion from the military for his wall—I’m putting my foot on the brakes today because another $5 billion end-run is a bridge too far.”

The first Tester/Leahy amendment reduces spending in the bill by $3.6 billion by striking $5 billion from the DHS appropriations bill Senate Republicans allocated for President Trump’s ineffective border wall.  Those funds would have been directed toward investments in real homeland security and middle class priorities across the non-defense appropriations bills like education, health care and infrastructure.  The Amendment reallocated $1.375 billion of Trump’s wall funding to make additional investments in border technology, TSA Screening, FEMA Flood Mapping grants, and a second Polar Security Coast Guard Cutter.  Amendment text is available HERE.

The second Tester/Leahy amendment prevented funds from being diverted from critical military construction projects to pay for President Trump’s wall.  Earlier this month, President Trump cancelled 127 military construction projects, ranging from building a new middle school in Kentucky to a child care development center, to raid $3.6 billion for his wall.  The vote was the second time Committee Republicans refused to rein in the President’s ability to steal funds meant for the military and their families.  Amendment text is available HERE.  

The final Leahy amendment prevented the Department of Homeland Security from using transfer authority to increase the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) budget above what Congress provides and the President signs into law.  Funding for ICE detention beds is often the most contentious issue in reaching an agreement on the DHS Appropriations bill and is carefully negotiated by Congress.  For the last two years, the Trump Administration has ignored the will of Congress and these carefully negotiated agreements to pursue its cruel and ineffective immigration policies, incarcerating thousands of more immigrants than Congress ever contemplated or approved.  To pay for this rampant overspending, the Trump administration drained millions of taxpayer dollars from critical accounts like FEMA and the Coast Guard. Amendment text is available HERE. and Leahy’s full statement is available HERE.

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