By: Juliegrace Brufke – thehill.com – 02/14/19
The House voted Thursday night to approve a border security deal that prevents a new government shutdown in a 300-128 vote.
The vote sets up President Trump to sign the legislation — and to declare a national emergency as a way of getting more federal funds for his wall on the Mexican border.
The House-passed legislation falls far short of Trump’s demand for $5.7 billion for a wall on the Mexican border, and Trump is likely to sign the legislation somewhat reluctantly.
Conservative pundits have lambasted the deal worked out by appropriators, and the House Freedom Caucus on Thursday night largely voted against it.
Fox News host Laura Ingraham said in a string of tweets that Trump “must not” sign the legislation. And a group of conservative members sent a letter to Trump urging him to take executive action should he feel the need to sign the bill.
Both parties lost votes from a sizable number of members from their respective parties who took issue with certain concessions in the bill, with 109 Republicans and 19 Democrats voting no.
The defectors were largely conservatives and progressive members. Only 87 Republicans voted yes.
Some conservatives were swayed to vote for the bill by Trump’s plan to declare a national emergency, including GOP Rep. Matt Gaetz (Fla.).
Negotiators on both sides of the aisle said there were portions of the bill they weren’t pleased with, but felt they ultimately came out with a fair compromise providing victories for both sides.
“While this bill falls short of what I’d like to see, it will provide our Customs and Border Patrol and Immigration and customs enforcement agents the tools necessary to continue combatting the threat we face,” House Appropriations Ranking Member Kay Granger (R-Texas) said on the floor ahead of the vote.
House Appropriations Committee Chairwoman Nita Lowey (D-N.Y.) had similar sentiments, saying they managed to “put politics aside and put the American people first.”
But not all appropriators were satisfied with the outcome of the agreement. Rep. Tom Graves (R-Ga.) said he had hoped for additional funding for the wall, adding he was dissatisfied with time allotted for members to review what was in the 1,000-plus page bill.
“I think it shows the inadequacy of this bill,” he told The Hill of the need to declare a national emergency.
The legislation, which was released just before midnight on Wednesday, includes funding for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), including $1.375 billion to build 55 miles of barrier in the Rio Grande Valley.
Congress passed the measure just one day before current funding was set to expire at midnight. Uncertainty over whether Trump would sign the bill lasted through early-afternoon, with members expressing concern they were at risk of a second partial government shutdown in two months.
The Senate passed the legislation in an 83-16 vote Thursday afternoon, shortly after Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) announced he had spoken to the president who was willing to support the measure. He also announced his support for Trump’s decision to declare a national emergency in order to build a border barrier.
While Trump’s vow to declare a national emergency is being welcomed by conservatives, members on both sides of the aisle expressed concerns it could set a bad precedent.
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