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-Cortez (N.Y.), Ilhan Omar (Minn.), Ayanna Pressley (Mass.) and Rashida Tlaib (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.

{mosads}”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 Pelosi (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 Trump on Thursday reiterated his demand for wall funding, saying he won’t accept a deal that doesn’t include money for a border wall.

Tags Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Ayanna Pressley Donald Trump Ilhan Omar Nancy Pelosi Rashida Tlaib

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