Budget reconciliation is the key to building the border wall

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When Congress returns in November, the fight for funding of the border wall will finally get its day on Capitol Hill. This is a fight worth having because border security is national security. The extreme tactics the minority has used to block President Trump’s border wall proposal is reckless and another example of how the left is being driven further and further to the extreme.

For years, Republicans have said securing our border is the necessary first step in fixing our broken immigration system. Now is our chance to take that step, and we need a strategy that is most likely to get the project across the finish line, even if that means thinking outside the box.

{mosads}Over the last 20 years, budget reconciliation has been used as a powerful tool to bypass filibusters and accomplish priority issues for the majority party with only 50 votes in the Senate. When President Trump was elected, we immediately moved to reconciliation in an effort to repeal ObamaCare. While we were one vote short of that goal, a one-sentence reconciliation instruction in the 2018 budget unlocked tax reform and the American economy has been booming ever since. Republicans aren’t the only ones to use this budget tool. Without budget reconciliation, Democrats would have never gotten ObamaCare to President Obama’s desk.

There is no reason the same tactic cannot be used to fully fund the president’s border wall. When the House returns in November, leadership should immediately que up the 2019 budget resolution and alter the reconciliation instructions to provide $25 billion in new mandatory spending authority for the Homeland Security Committee. Instructions could also be provided to offset this new spending with cuts to other mandatory programs.

As we did with health care and tax reform, once both houses have passed the budget resolution with this instruction by a simple majority vote, reconciliation would be unlocked. From this point, we could fund the border wall through a new mandatory spending program and pass the bill with 50 votes in the Senate, overcoming what is sure to be a Democratic filibuster.

That is why I am introducing a bill, the Fifty Votes for the Wall Act, that I am confident could meet the requirements of budget reconciliation and survive the Byrd Rule’s tests. The bill creates a new mandatory spending program, providing up to $25 billion, to fully fund President Trump’s border wall. The bill directs this money be used by the secretary of Homeland Security to construct physical barriers and associated detection technology, roads, and lighting along the southern border. To comply with the Byrd Rule, the program sunsets all mandatory funding within the budget window. 

Not only would my bill fully fund the wall, but it would take the wall building program out of the appropriations process and prevent Democrats from bottling up funding in future years. Regardless of the outcome of the midterm elections, let’s not miss our chance to crack down on illegal immigration. Let’s use our majorities in both houses to get the wall built and keep the American people safe.

Byrne represents the 1st District of Alabama and is a member of the Rules Committee.

Tags Border wall budget reconciliation Donald Trump

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