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Monday , October 22 2018
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Home | Tag Archives: funding

Tag Archives: funding

Congress Passes $1.3 Trillion Spending Bill that Includes Some Border Wall Funding

WASHINGTON — Congress took a major step on Thursday to keep the federal government’s doors open through the end of September, passing a massive spending bill that includes some funding for a border wall.

The $1.3 trillion measure, which lawmakers scrambled to pass ahead of a government shutdown deadline Friday night, was on its way to President Donald Trump after the U.S. Senate passed it late Thursday on a vote of 65-32. The new spending restores funding on many of the austerity measures Republicans implemented since taking over the U.S. House in 2011.

As such, it is expected to further increase the ever-ballooning federal deficit.

The bill will boost spending on various projects, including infrastructure and a border wall. The $1.6 billion allocated for a wall fell far short of the Trump administration’s demands, and Democrats were able to exact significant restrictions on the wall’s construction, including avoiding building it in a wildlife preserve and blocking any construction of the barrier as a solid concrete wall.

Earlier Thursday, the House passed the bill on a vote of 256-167. Most Texas Republicans fell in line with their leadership on the bill, but a handful from the conservative wing of the party voted against it: U.S. Reps. Brian Babin of Woodville, Joe Barton of Ennis, Blake Farenthold of Corpus Christi, Louie Gohmert of Tyler, Ted Poe of Humble and John Ratcliffe of Heath.

Five Texas Democrats backed the bill: U.S. Reps. Henry Cuellar of Laredo, Al Green of Houston, Gene Green of Houston, Eddie Bernice Johnson of Dallas and Beto O’Rourke of El Paso. Six other Democrats voted against the legislation: U.S. Reps. Joaquin Castro of San Antonio, Lloyd Doggett of Austin, Vicente Gonzalezof McAllen, Sheila Jackson Lee of Houston, Marc Veasey of Fort Worth and Filemon Vela of Brownsville.

There are no provisions in the legislation to address extending the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, program, which was a major issue for many Texas Democrats. The Obama-era program, which Trump has made efforts to end, affects about 124,000 Texans, allowing them to remain in the country and work without the immediate threat of deportation.

Additionally, U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, expressed frustration earlier in the week to The Texas Tribune that legislation he supported that would overhaul Congress’ sexual harassment policies was not included in the bill.

But two Texans in particular were big winners with the legislation: U.S. Sen. John Cornyn and U.S. Rep. Mac Thornberry of Clarendon.

Cornyn spent the last several months pushing policy that would enhance the federal background check system for purchasing firearms. He successfully attached the measure onto the spending bill earlier this week.

Thornberry, the U.S. House Armed Services Committee chairman, is one of the fiercest advocates for increased military spending. The bill approved Thursday includes a 10 percent increase in Pentagon funding from the last fiscal year.

“The bill we’re about to vote on turns the corner in fixing our planes and ships and readiness,” Thornberry said ahead of the vote Thursday. “And it also sends a very strong message to allies and adversaries alike that the United States is going to stand up and defend ourselves.”

While the midterms are still seven months out, this bill is considered one of the last significant bills Congress will address before the coming elections.

Read related Tribune coverage:

Author: ABBY LIVINGSTON – The Texas Tribune

Video – Cornyn: Funding Bill Beefs Up Border Security, Defense

WASHINGTON  –  Tuesday on the Senate floor, U.S. Senator John Cornyn (R-TX) discussed the bipartisan legislation to fund the government, which includes additional funding for border security and defense, and the importance of free trade agreements to Texas.  Excerpts of Sen. Cornyn’s remarks are below:

“Over the weekend, an agreement was finally reached on a funding bill to keep the U.S. government open and to provide much-needed long-term funding to our federal agencies.”

‘This agreed bill consists of the 11 remaining appropriation bills, with additional funding set aside for our military, disaster relief, and border security. I, for one, have been encouraged to hear folks from both sides of the aisle, Republicans and Democrats alike, make clear we actually agree on more than we disagree on, particularly when it comes to securing our border.”

“I have been glad to read press reports and hear the Minority Leader, Senator Schumer, among others, talk about how providing more resources to secure the border is necessary to keep us safe.”

“Last month during the state work period, I had the chance to speak to hundreds of my constituents all across the state, ten cities in all. Part of that time was spent visiting the folks who live and work along the U.S.-Mexico border.”

“It goes without saying that free trade has been a cornerstone of the economy in Texas, adding billions to our economy annually and bolstering our relationship with our partner to the south. In other words, free trade agreements, particularly NAFTA, the North American Free Trade Agreement, are critically important to many of my state’s leading industries, such as agriculture and energy.”

“As we consider this omnibus appropriation bill and specifically, more resources to enhance security along the border, I think we can all agree that our approach should be twofold. We must devote resources not only to enhance border security but also fix our aging infrastructure at our ports of entry. Fortunately, this bill does exactly that.”

“I’m glad we found a way to fund the government and to actually govern while doing more for our national defense and security, particularly security along the border.”

Senator John Cornyn, a Republican from Texas, is a member of the Senate Finance, Intelligence, and Judiciary Committees.

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