If Biden Wants to Keep the Government Open, He Needs to Close the Border, McCarthy Says
If President Joe Biden wishes to avoid a government shutdown, he should sit down with House Speaker Kevin McCarthy and hammer out a plan to secure the U.S.-Mexico border, McCarthy said at a news conference Wednesday.
“I want to sit down with the president to solve that border,” McCarthy told reporters.
The speaker addressed the president on his border policies: “This wasn’t a policy that was passed from the House and Senate that opened up this border. It was simply your decision, and you could do something to change it.”
McCarthy said he planned to pass a continuing resolution in the House that includes the House’s border bill, H.R. 2. Such a resolution with border requirements “would keep government open while we finish the job.”
Unless Congress passes and the president signs legislation funding the government, nonessential functions will shut down on Oct. 1. On Tuesday, the House advanced four bills to fund specific departments—the departments of Defense, Homeland Security, State, and Agriculture—that would limit the impact of the shutdown. (Funding the government requires 12 appropriations bills, or Congress can pass a continuing resolution to fund the government on a limited basis.)
The House is voting on amendments Wednesday and will vote on passing the bills Thursday. These bills would fund 71% of total discretionary spending for the next fiscal year. Meanwhile, the Senate has not voted on a single appropriations bill.
Also on Tuesday, the Senate advanced a continuing resolution to fund the government through Nov. 17, the week before Thanksgiving. That bill would provide about $6.15 billion in additional funding for Ukraine and $5.99 billion in disaster relief funding.
McCarthy said the Senate bill would be a nonstarter in the House.
“I don’t see the support in the House,” he told reporters Wednesday.
The Daily Signal reached out to the Senate resolution’s sponsor, Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., for comment on the resolution and responses to criticism of it, but neither responded by publication time.
Sen. Tommy Tuberville, R-Ala., is opposing the bill.
“Coach is a no,” Steven Stafford, Tuberville’s communications director, told The Daily Signal in an email statement Wednesday. “D.C. politicians are doing more for Ukraine’s border than our border, not to mention more for Ukraine’s farmers than our farmers.”
Heritage Action for America urged members of Congress to vote against the legislation, making it a “key vote” for legislative scorecards. (The Daily Signal is the news outlet of The Heritage Foundation, of which Heritage Action is the political action arm.)
Heritage Action Executive Vice President Ryan Walker said the Senate bill “completely misses the mark.”
“Combining reckless spending levels with priorities the American people overwhelmingly don’t support—like additional, unaccountable funding for Ukraine—this package would do nothing more than continue the status quo in Washington,” he said.
Heritage Action has demanded that government funding bills must include “meaningful spending cuts to alter the nation’s discretionary-spending trajectory,” by lowering top-line spending to the levels of fiscal year 2022. It has also insisted that “any short-term funding extension should include policy changes to secure the border and prevent the Biden administration from continuing its open-border agenda.” The Senate bill meets neither of those criteria.
“Between worsening inflation, the crisis at the southern border, and the weaponization of the federal government against citizens, the American people are feeling the consequences of the Biden administration’s policies every day,” Walker added. “We cannot afford more of the same failures and attacks on American opportunity.”
McCarthy emphasized the border crisis in his remarks Wednesday.
The speaker noted that 11,000 people crossed the U.S.-Mexico border on Tuesday, marking 50,000 people in the last five days.
“Think about what America looks like now that President Biden has come into office,” he said, noting various labor strikes across the country. “We’ve got a wide-open border. We’ve got people picketing in Michigan that’s going to put more costs into cars, and why are they picketing? Because his policies subsidize electric cars that are taking their jobs away. We’ve got in Hollywood five months of picketing.”
“We’ve got five embassies—American embassies in other countries—that had to be evacuated,” the speaker added. “Based upon his missteps in Afghanistan, we now have allies turning towards China. We now have something we haven’t seen since the ’30s, the creation of the axis of powers. It’s North Korea, China, Russia and Iran” allying with one another.
“All this chaos is based upon his foreign policy, his immigration policy,” McCarthy claimed about Biden. “He’s got people in his own party now, states declaring states of emergency.” He noted that Democratic governors in Massachusetts and New York have declared states of emergency connected to the border crisis.
The speaker mentioned the spread of fentanyl, the growth of Mexican cartels, and the expansion of human trafficking.
“Just going and joining a picket line that you created doesn’t solve the problem by having a photo-op,” he said.