The crisis at the U.S. southern border could become “worse” should the “dysfunction” in the House of Representatives block Congress from reaching a deal to prevent a federal shutdown, Democrat Sen. Mark Kelly said Sunday.
Kelly, D-Ariz., appeared on CBS’ “Face the Nation” and blamed House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., for failing to get conservative Republican hardliners to agree with a conservative spending plan to keep the government funded.
“We’ve got a crisis at the border. And what the speaker is allowing to happen in the House of Representatives could make this worse,” Kelly said.
Migrant encounters at the southern border soared past the 200,000 mark once again in August, hitting a new high for the calendar year and marking the highest August on record.
Kelly, a former NASA astronaut, said border states, including his home state of Arizona, have been dealing with an immigration crisis for “generations, decades” and could only imagine how a government shutdown would impact the current situation.
“If there’s a government shutdown, Border Patrol agents are not going to get paid,” the senator said. “This is going to, I mean, if we think it’s bad today, just think about what that looks like.”
The senator said that the potential impact of a shutdown could also affect the U.S. abroad as debate swirls over funding for the war in Ukraine.
“The aid that we are giving them is critical. If this was to stop, they would lose, and [Russian President Vladimir] Putin would win,” Kelly said. “I mean, we’ve got to get this across the finish line, or this would be a disaster.”
Kelly continued: “The dysfunction in the House is unprecedented. You know, who really cares about whether or not we fund Ukraine or not and continue to provide the support? It’s the Chinese president. This has implications across the globe.”
President Biden has asked Congress to authorize an additional $24 billion to fund the effort in Ukraine. Earlier this month, the White House confirmed the Biden administration had spent more than $100 billion on the war in Ukraine, through documents obtained by Fox News Digital.
“If we fail at this moment, there’s a chance that we, you know, a year from now, two years from now, we wind up in a situation where we could be in direct conflict with the Russians,” Kelly said. “We do not want that.”
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