House Republicans are looking to force President Biden to approve their border security legislation by tying it to one of 12 government spending bills lawmakers have pledged to pass for the next fiscal year.
In a last-minute weekend meeting, the GOP-run House Rules Committee added a provision to the appropriations bill funding the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) that if passed would prevent it from being considered by the Senate until Republicans’ border security bill, H.R. 2, was signed into law.
It’s a long-shot bid to use the government funding fight to score a key conservative policy victory. But to get to Biden’s desk, it would need to pass the Democrat-controlled Senate – where it’s almost certain to be blocked by Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y.
But conservative Rules Committee members told Fox News Digital on Monday that Republicans would not fund Biden’s DHS if the Democrats in power did not use their plan to crack down on the border crisis.
“From the beginning of this process, I’ve vowed to defend the 750,000 Texans I represent by refusing to fund a DHS that is not doing its job to secure the border. Why would we sign another check to DHS to continue to not do its job?” said Rep. Chip Roy, R-Texas.
“If the Senate and the president continue open border policies, then the House will not move a DHS appropriations bill. Texans are done. We are over it. No matter what happens before this is all over, border security needs to get done, period, full stop – no security, no funding.”
Rep. Nick Langworthy, R-N.Y., said, “If the measures in H.R. 2 were to pass during the appropriations process, they would immediately reverse the Biden administration’s worst immigration policy decisions and begin to lighten the burden crushing upstate New Yorkers.”
“The inclusion of H.R. 2 is absolutely necessary. What’s happening at our southern border right now is worse than a crisis – it’s a complete catastrophe being ignored by the entire Biden administration,” said Rep. Ralph Norman, R-S.C. “All that I can do is support and pass the most conservative border legislation possible. Now, the ball is in Joe Biden’s court.”
Congress must pass some form of spending bill by the Sept. 30 funding deadline or risk a partial government shutdown.
During the Saturday Rules Committee meeting, Rep. Joe Neguse, D-Colo., accused Republicans of “extortion” over the move.
“It’s extorting the Senate into agreeing with you, [as] well as the president, every line of a bill that you have adopted on a party-line basis. I don’t understand how that’s regular order,” Neguse said.
But Chairman Tom Cole, R-Okla., argued that Democrats had used the same tactic when they held the majority in the last Congress.
“I would remind my friend that’s precisely what the Democrats did when they passed the bipartisan infrastructure bill; they said they would not send it over from the Senate in this body until the reconciliation bill was passed,” Cole said.
The border security package would resume construction of the border wall and reinstate the Trump administration’s “Remain In Mexico” policy, among other measures.
Republicans had been trying to wedge H.R. 2 into a possible short-term funding bill known as a continuing resolution (CR), which lawmakers on both sides have acknowledged would be needed to give them more time to pass all 12 individual appropriations bills.
But party infighting has seemingly derailed attempts at a stopgap, even proposals that floated deep spending cuts for a 30-day duration and commitments to slash future spending.
Lawmakers are back on Capitol Hill on Tuesday. Speaker Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., told reporters on Monday that the House will have a procedural vote to advance four spending bills, including DHS, for full chamber votes in the coming days.
When reached for comment on Republicans’ DHS appropriations bill, the White House did not directly comment on the legislation but accused the House GOP of using the border crisis for political rhetoric.
“President Biden has called on Congress to pass comprehensive immigration reform since his first day in office and House Republicans continue to block it,” a White House spokesperson said. “Now, House Republicans who claim to care about border security are threatening it by proposing a continuing resolution that would eliminate 800 CBP agents and officers, and by marching toward a shutdown that would halt pay to tens of thousands of DHS law enforcement personnel.”
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