House panel advances homeland security bill with $5 billion in border wall funding

House panel advances homeland security bill with $5 billion in border wall funding
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A House panel on Wednesday approved the Homeland Security appropriations bill, which includes $5 billion in funding for President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump rallies in Nevada amid Supreme Court flurry: 'We're gonna get Brett' Trump: 'Good news' that Obama is campaigning again Trump boosts Heller, hammers 'Wacky Jacky' opponent in Nevada MORE’s controversial border wall.

The House Appropriations Committee voted 29-22 along party lines to send the bill to the full House, wrapping up the committee’s work for the 2019 fiscal year.

The bill provided $51.4 billion in discretionary funding for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), a $3.7 billion increase over 2018 levels. It includes $7.2 billion funding for the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), funds for hiring 400 new U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents and $1.9 billion for cybersecurity efforts.

“It is outrageous that House Republicans have prioritized unnecessary funds for President Trump’s border wall and cruel immigration policies rather than fighting terrorism through substantial new investments in first responder grants or growing the economy and creating jobs through job training, making college more affordable, or research and development initiatives,” said Rep. Nita LoweyNita Sue LoweyCongress sends first spending package to Trump in push to avert shutdown The stakes are sky-high for the pro-life cause in the upcoming midterms Dems urge Mattis to reject using 0M for border wall MORE (N.Y), the top Democrat on the committee. 


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Democratic attempts to block or redesignate the $5 billion included to fund 200 miles worth of wall along the United States's southern border fell flat in the face of Republican opposition.
 
Trump has pushed for $25 billion for the wall, but the $5 billion down payment was well above the $1.6 billion in funding included in the Senate's version of the bill, which only allowed for the money to be used for reinforcing existing barriers.
 
“Globalization, cybersecurity, and terrorism are changing our way of life and we need to change with it. This bill fully supports our men and women on the frontline who work tirelessly to keep us safe. The bill also provides the necessary funding for critical technology and physical barriers to secure our borders,” said committee Chairman Rodney FrelinghuysenRodney Procter FrelinghuysenTrump endorses Republican candidate in key NJ House race On The Money: Lawmakers get deal to avoid shutdown | House panel approves 'tax cuts 2.0' bill | Jobless claims hold steady near 49-year low Congress sends first spending package to Trump in push to avert shutdown MORE (R-N.J.).
 
During the markup, the House panel also adopted several amendments on high-profile political issues.
 
It approved an amendment by Rep. David PriceDavid Eugene PriceTo save asylum seekers we must save our immigration courts House panel advances homeland security bill with billion in border wall funding House panel pushes back against Trump asylum rule on domestic, gang violence MORE (D-N.C.) pushing back on Attorney General Jeff SessionsJefferson (Jeff) Beauregard SessionsHillicon Valley: Trump cyber strategy lets US go on offense | AT&T urges court to let Time Warner merger stand | Conservatives want wife of DOJ official to testify | Facebook, nonprofits team up to fight fake news | DC camera hacker pleads guilty Vote Democrat in midterms to rein in Trump, preserve justice Sessions limits ability of judges to dismiss deportation cases MORE’s June decision to deny asylum to victims of domestic abuse and gang violence.
 
“The precedent was established in 2014 that those fleeing gang violence and domestic violence would, under certain circumstances, be eligible for a credible fear claim,” Price said, vowing not to let the “draconian measure” stand.
 
“There’s no question that what Attorney General Sessions has done would close the door almost completely,” he added. 
 
The Appropriations Committee also approved an amendment limiting the use of shackles on pregnant women detained by immigration and Border Patrol officials. 
 
“ICE has recently reported it has detained more than 500 pregnant women since December, and they are using shackling of pregnant women,” said Rep. Katherine ClarkKatherine Marlea ClarkThe farm bill gives Congress a chance to act on the Pet and Women Safety (PAWS) Act Michigan lawmaker wants seat for Midwest at Dem leadership table Michigan Dem mulls leadership bid in House MORE (D-Mass.), the amendment’s sponsor. 
 
She cited American Medical Association recommendations against shackling pregnant women in their second or third trimester because it can increase chances of harming the fetus. 
 
It also approved an amendment protecting Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipients that are active duty military or veterans from deportation. DACA was an Obama-era policy protecting certain immigrants who came to the country illegally as children.
 
The bill still has several obstacles to overcome before becoming law. It must pass on the House floor, and then the House must iron out differences with the Senate version, which provides some $300 million less in overall funding and distributes its appropriations differently.
 
Congress has not yet conferenced any of the 12 appropriations bills for 2019 and sent them to Trump for his signature.
 
Government funding runs out after Sept. 30, and in the absence of new funding bills, a stopgap measure will be necessary to keep the government running.
 
Trump has vowed to veto any stopgap measures that do not fund his border wall.
 
Wednesday’s hearing marked Frelinghuysen's fnal markup as chairman before he retires this fall.
 
Committee members spent the first hour of the hearing offering praise to the outgoing congressman.