Ocasio-Cortez, progressives press Pelosi to not increase DHS funding in any spending deal

Ocasio-Cortez, progressives press Pelosi to not increase DHS funding in any spending deal

Four freshmen Democrats are putting pressure on Democrats to oppose any spending deal that would increase funding for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), as lawmakers from both chambers attempt to negotiate a deal to avert another government shutdown.

Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-CortezAlexandria Ocasio-CortezDemocratic Socialists of America endorses Sanders for president Ocasio-Cortez: Green New Deal 'narratives are manipulated' by critics Trump: Green New Deal 'the most preposterous thing' and 'easy to beat' MORE (N.Y.), Ilhan OmarIlhan OmarTrump on 2020 Dems skipping AIPAC: 'I think they're anti-Jewish' The Hill's Morning Report — Washington readies for Mueller end game 2020 Dems avoid this year's AIPAC conference MORE (Minn.), Ayanna PressleyAyanna PressleyBeto could give Biden and Bernie a run for their money Pelosi says she backs lowering voting age to 16 America has a democracy problem MORE (Mass.) and Rashida TlaibRashida Harbi TlaibHouse Dems unveil measure to reject anti-Israel boycotts Dems concerned impeachment will make Trump 'appear like a victim,' says pollster Officials dismiss criticism that Trump rhetoric to blame for New Zealand attack MORE (Mich.) drafted a letter that calls out Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and Customs and Border Protection (CBP) -- two agencies under DHS -- and says long-term funding issues should be addressed during the fiscal year 2020 budget process.

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"We have seen rampant spending on detention facilities for young children,” a draft of the letter reads. “The deal reached by the Conference Committee should not allocate any additional funding to this department or to the ICE and CBP agencies. The upcoming FY2020 budget process will be a critical opportunity to take up conversations about reforms to the agency. In the meantime, not another dollar."

The letter, dated Jan. 29 and first reported by The Daily Beast on Thursday, was confirmed by Corbin Trent, a spokesman for Ocasio-Cortez.

"It does exist, yes. The letter speaks for itself," Trent told The Hill.

“Our message is simple: We’re asking that Congress cut, not increase, spending on detention facilities, stop using DHS as a slush fund, and include stronger accountability against DHS abuses under Donald Trump’s watch,” Omar reportedly told The Daily Beast.

Spokespeople for Omar, Pressley and Tlaib did not immediately respond to requests for comment from The Hill.

The letter will reportedly be read on the House floor next week.

The demands by the four lawmakers come as a 17-member conference committee attempts to negotiate a possible deal on border security in an effort to avoid another government shutdown like the 35-day one that ended on Friday.

Funding for parts of the government that were previously shuttered is set to expire on Feb. 15.

Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy Patricia D'Alesandro PelosiThe Hill's Morning Report — Washington readies for Mueller end game Dem divisions deepen over approach to climate change 2020 Dems avoid this year's AIPAC conference MORE (D-Calif.) said Thursday that Democrats are open to new fencing and other barriers as part of ongoing talks to prevent another government shutdown, but they're against appropriating funds for a wall.

“There's not going to be any wall money in the legislation,” Pelosi said during her weekly press briefing in the Capitol.

Democrats are also open to increased funding for DHS.

House Democratic conferees this week outlined their border security proposal, which includes funding 1,000 new customs officers; new technology at ports of entry to scan vehicles for illicit drugs; equipment for mail processing facilities to detect opioids; and repair projects at ports of entry.

President TrumpDonald John TrumpSenate GOP budget ignores Trump, cuts defense Trump says he'll nominate Stephen Moore to Fed White House: ISIS territory in Syria has been 100 percent eliminated MORE on Thursday reiterated his demand for wall funding, saying he won't accept a deal that doesn't include money for a border wall.