House conservatives blast border deal, push Trump to use executive power

A group of conservative House members is urging President Trump to use executive power to build a barrier along the southern border if he feels it is necessary to support the bipartisan border deal slated to be voted on Thursday evening.

In a letter to Trump shared exclusively with The Hill, Republican Reps. Andy Biggs (Ariz.), Matt GaetzMatthew (Matt) GaetzGraham: Trump has 'all the legal authority in the world' to pardon Stone Meghan McCain after Gaetz says Trump should pardon Roger Stone: 'Oh come on' Sunday shows preview: 2020 Democrats jockey for top spot ahead of Nevada caucuses MORE (Fla.), Jim JordanJames (Jim) Daniel JordanTrump adviser presses House investigators to make Bezos testify Booker, Merkley propose federal facial recognition moratorium Ex-Ohio State wrestler claims Jim Jordan asked him to deny abuse allegations MORE (Ohio) and House Freedom Caucus Chairman Mark MeadowsMark Randall MeadowsHouse Freedom Caucus chairman endorses Collins's Georgia Senate bid Lawmakers grill Census Bureau officials after report on cybersecurity issues Conservative lawmakers warn Pelosi about 'rate-setting' surprise billing fix MORE (N.C.) blasted the agreement reached by senior appropriators in both chambers. The measure includes $1.375 billion to construct a physical barrier, far lower than the $5.7 billion requested by the administration.

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The conservative lawmakers argue it does not provide enough funding to secure the border.

“Thank you for your leadership efforts to protect our border. The conference committee deal is bad,” the letter reads. “It will not secure the border and will allow criminally violent aliens to be released into our country. And, in fact, there may be additional problems with the proposed ‘deal.’"

The group urged the president to declare a national emergency to secure additional funds, allowing him to utilize emergency military construction authority and “provide support for the counterdrug activities or activities to counter transnational organized crime” by building the wall.

“If you feel the need to sign the legislation we also urge you to immediately use your authority pursuant to Title X, Sections 284 and 2808, to access funds to begin building a much-needed border wall,” they continued.

“We support your use of the authority delegated to you as President by the United States Congress to use federal funds to protect the American people.”

The 1,159-page bill was released just before midnight on Wednesday. The House is slated to vote on it Thursday evening after its expected passage in the upper chamber.