Two House Republicans came out on July 27 against funding the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) whether through appropriations or a continuing resolution, due to the Biden administration’s handling of the crisis at the southern border—leaving the House GOP majority with the slimmest of margins.
The House GOP, which consists of 222 members, would only be able to lose one of its members as Rep. Brandon Williams (R-N.Y.) is in the hospital this week—assuming all Democrats vote against the appropriations bill.
Reps. Chip Roy (R-Texas) and Lance Gooden (R-Texas) told reporters during a press conference on Capitol Hill they would not support giving another taxpayer cent to DHS because of the chaos at the southern border.
“Under no circumstances am I going to support any appropriation to the Department of Homeland Security, any continuing resolution at all. I will use every tool at my disposal to thwart giving another dollar to this secretary to leave Texas exposed to the dangers and getting assaulted on a daily basis by this invasion,” said Mr. Roy, referring to Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, who has come under fire for his response to the border crisis.
Mayorkas faced a grilling in the House Judiciary Committee on July 26.
“I join Chip Roy in saying that I will not support any appropriations bill that spends funds on these activities. I will not support American tax dollars deliberately being used to fuel this crisis,” said Mr. Gooden.
“And you know, it’s one thing that the federal government has refused to secure the border, and Texas has had to spend so much money,” he continued. “It’s another thing when they actually get in our way and tell us we have to stop securing our border.”
Rep. Jody Arrington (R-Texas) told reporters following the press conference that the House GOP will use every tool at its disposal, whether it is the appropriations process or the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) to try to secure the border. The House passed its NDAA this month, and the Senate is expected to do so this week as the House and Senate will have to go to conference to iron out differences and come out with a bill that can pass both chambers and be sent to President Joe Biden for his signature.
In Solidarity With Texas Governor
The press conference was used to express solidarity with Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, who is facing pushback from the Department of Justice for putting forth floating barriers in the Rio Grande Valley. The Department of Justice sued Texas this week to have those barriers removed. The Republican governor has refused to budge and wrote a letter to Mr. Biden and his administration stating, “See you in court, Mr. President.”
The Texas House Republicans in attendance—which also included Reps. Jake Ellezy, Brian Babin, Nathaniel Moran, Michael Cloud, and Keith Self—pushed back on Texas House Democrats that called on Mr. Biden to take action against Mr. Abbott.
A couple of the Republicans at the press conference called on the Senate to pass, and for Mr. Biden to sign into law, the border security bill that passed the House in May.
Southwest border encounters by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) last month were at 144,571, a 62,131 decrease from May, according to the agency. Over the fiscal year, which started Oct. 1, there have been almost 1.79 million such encounters. Since Mr. Biden took office in January 2021, there have been more than 5.82 million CBP encounters at the southwest border.
Fentanyl has been an issue in terms of crossing the southern border, and it was raised during the press conference.
In 2021, the leading cause of opioid-related deaths was fentanyl—with 70,601 such deaths, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
More than 50,000 pounds of fentanyl was seized by CBP at the southern border in 2022.
“China remains the primary source of fentanyl and fentanyl-related substances trafficked through international mail and express consignment operations environment, as well as the main source for all fentanyl-related substances trafficked into the United States,” according to the Drug Enforcement Administration.
“Seizures of fentanyl sourced from China average less than one kilogram in weight, and often test above 90 percent concentration of pure fentanyl.”