Senate Democrats skipping Pence's border trip

Senate Democrats skipping Pence's border trip
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Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee say they are not going on Vice President Pence’s trip to the U.S.-Mexico border this week.
 
Pence announced earlier this week that he was inviting a bipartisan delegation from the Judiciary panel to go with him on Friday to McAllen, Texas, which sits near the border in the Rio Grande Valley.
 
But nine of the 10 Democrats on the panel, or their staff, told The Hill that they are not going on the trip.
 
Sen. Mazie HironoMazie Keiko HironoRestlessness, light rule-breaking and milk spotted on Senate floor as impeachment trial rolls on Democrats request briefing on intel behind Trump's embassy threat claim Former Hawaii Democratic governor calls on Gabbard to resign MORE (D-Hawaii) — whose spokesman confirmed she would not go on the trip — suggested to CNN's "New Day" that she viewed the Pence trip as political. 
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"I don't want to participate in what is basically the Trump show, the Trump-Pence show," Hirono said. 
 
Sen. Dick DurbinRichard (Dick) Joseph DurbinTensions between McConnell and Schumer run high as trial gains momentum Nadler gets under GOP's skin Restlessness, light rule-breaking and milk spotted on Senate floor as impeachment trial rolls on MORE (Ill.), the No. 2 Senate Democrat, confirmed that he was invited, but isn't going. Asked if any Democrats on the committee were going, he added that he didn't "know of any yet." 
 
 
“Oh really? First I’m hearing about it," he said.
  
Spokespeople for Sens. Amy KlobucharAmy Jean KlobucharHarris weighing Biden endorsement: report Biden leads Democratic primary field nationally: poll CNN cancels next week's Iowa town halls MORE (D-Minn.) and Kamala HarrisKamala Devi HarrisHarris weighing Biden endorsement: report California Democrat Christy Smith launches first TV ad in bid for Katie Hill's former House seat Steyer spokesperson: 'I don't think necessarily that Tom has bought anything' MORE (D-Calif.), who are both running for the Democratic Party's 2020 presidential nomination, as well as Sen. Sheldon WhitehouseSheldon WhitehouseCitizens United decision weathers 10 years of controversy Sanders defends vote against USMCA: 'Not a single damn mention' of climate change The Hill's Morning Report — President Trump on trial MORE (D-R.I.), said the three senators will not go on the trip. 
 
A spokeswoman for Pence didn't immediately respond to a request for comment about who is attending or if there would be an effort to invite Democrats beyond the Senate panel.
 
Several senators indicated they had scheduling conflicts that would prevent them from going. 
 
 
Asked if he was going, Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) said, "I don't think I can make it." 
 
 
The lack of Democratic participation comes after Pence announced on Monday that he would be visiting the border with a bipartisan delegation from the Judiciary Committee.
 
“On Friday, @SecondLady & I will travel to the U.S./ Mexico border at McAllen, TX with a bipartisan delegation of members of the Senate Judiciary Committee,” the vice president tweeted Monday afternoon. “The Senate passed bipartisan humanitarian relief - but much more must be done to SECURE our border & end this crisis!”
 
Congress passed legislation to provide more than $4.5 billion in new border money, including nearly $3 billion in humanitarian aide. 
 
But the administration, and their Republican allies, argue further action is needed, including changes to the country's asylum laws.
 
Pence has repeatedly called on Congress to act to improve conditions at the border. He said, “We’ve got to get to the root causes” of the reported conditions in border facilities in an interview last month.

"No American should approve of this mass influx of people coming across our border," Pence told CNN. "I was at the detention center in Nogales, [Ariz.]. ... It is a heartbreaking scene. These are people who are being exploited by human traffickers. ... Congress has to act."