MCALLEN, RGV – Two border congressmen from South Texas have come out against President Trump’s budget request of more money for a border wall.
The new White House budget for Fiscal Year 2020 allocates $8.6 billion to build sections of a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border, on top of the close to $7 billion Trump already announced in his national emergency declaration. But, Congress must first approve the budget.
Congressmen Henry Cuellar of Laredo and Vicente Gonzalez of McAllen says they cannot support Trump’s budget request. Gonzalez pointed out that former White House Chief of Staff John Kelly has denounced the President’s border wall plan as a waste of money.
“The word ‘no’ is a very simple concept. You can use a dictionary to find the definition and a thesaurus to find synonyms,” Gonzalez said.
“You know what you cannot use these resources for? Fortifying an argument that a physical barrier is a viable border security solution. For better border security options, the President is welcome to contact me – or even former White House Chief of Staff, John Kelly, who recently described the border wall as a waste of money. For the time being, the only answer to the $8.6 billion budget request is quite simply, ‘no.’”
Cuellar said the president’s request is short-sighted and fiscally irresponsible.
“Any budget that allocates billions towards a border wall is bad policy and an unacceptable waste of taxpayer dollars,” Cuellar said.
“Congress has made it clear that it refuses to fund an unnecessary and expensive 14th century wall. The President’s insistence over this funding has already proven itself futile: it resulted in a government shutdown, which hurt hundreds of thousands of citizens across the country.”
Cuellar said he and his Democratic colleagues have stated time and time again that they support smart, effective border security. He said the President’s new request will make drastic cuts to key federal government programs and services, prolong federal deficits, and unnecessarily harm the American people.
“I understand firsthand that a safe homeland starts with modern solutions that work including advanced technology, border personnel, and increased infrastructure at our ports of entry,” Cuellar said.
“As a member of the Homeland Security Appropriations Conference Committee, I worked with members from both sides of the aisle to include funding and language that will secure the border in a much more effective way, and at a fraction of the cost. I will continue reaching across the aisle, supporting 21st century security measures and protecting the welfare of the American people.”
Meanwhile, on Wednesday, Cuellar and Gonzalez will join with Congressman Joaquin Castro of San Antonio and Congresswoman Veronica Escobar of El Paso for a conference call with reporters to discuss an upcoming Senate vote on a resolution to terminate Trump’s emergency declaration. Castro is chair of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus.