POLITICS: 8 House Republicans Join All Dems in Voting Against Wall Funding After Trump Urges ‘Steel Slats’

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The U.S. Capitol at dusk (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

By Susan Jones, CNSNews, December 21, 2018 

(CNSNews.com) – Eight House Republicans voted no Thursday night on a short-term funding bill that includes $5.7 billion for President Trump’s long-promised border wall.

They are: Justin Amash (Mich.), Ken Buck (Colo.), Carlos Curbelo (Fla.), Will Hurd (Texas), Erik Paulsen (Calif.), Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (Fla.), Fred Upton (Mich.) and David Valadao (Calif.).

The bill ended up passing the House on a vote of 217-185, and it now goes to the Senate where passage is in doubt.

If the House and Senate can’t agree on legislation by midnight tonight, a partial government shutdown will result.

Some of the “nay” Republicans explained their reasons for voting against the C.R.:

“There will be a vote tonight on an appropriations bill known as a continuing resolution, or CR, to spend hundreds of billions of dollars and fund unconstitutional programs. The government will continue to grow recklessly and burden future generations. I’ll be voting no,” Rep. Amash said.

In a second tweet, Amash wrote: “This massive, wasteful spending bill—stuffed with unrelated items—passed 217-185. It’s amazing how some wall funding causes my fellow Republicans to embrace big government. Watch out if Democrats attach wall funding to Medicare for All. The bill could be called Medicare for Wall.”

Rep. Will Hurd told CNN on Thursday morning he opposes funding for Trump’s wall:

“Building a 30-foot high concrete structure from sea to shining sea is the most expensive and least effective way to do border security,” Hurd said. “I represent 820 miles of border, more border than any other member of Congress. I spent almost a decade as an undercover officer in the CIA chasing bad guys all over the world. In places along the border, Border Patrol’s response time is measured in hours to days. So a wall is actually not a physical barrier.

“We — if we want to address root causes of illegal immigration we should be doing and working on those root causes in the northern triangle like Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala. We should be talking about, how do we plus-up the State Department budget and USAID budget? How do we work with Mexico, who just announced $30 billion on doing — on working on economic opportunities in Central America? There are the things that are going to address root causes of mass migration,” Hurd said.

There was no immediate comment from the other Republicans who voted no.

‘Walls work whether we like it or not’

Earlier at the White House, President Trump once again made his case for a border wall. He was addressing Republicans who gathered at the White House for a farm bill signing ceremony:

“Before going any further, I want to address a matter of vital national importance,” Trump said:

Every nation has not only the right, but the absolute duty, to protect its borders and its citizens. A nation without borders is a nation not at all. Without borders, we have the reign of chaos, crime, cartels, and — believe it or not — coyotes. I will not surrender this nation to the whims of criminal organizations who prey on the vulnerable, who hurt women and children, and who spread human misery and suffering.

Human trafficking and massive drug inflow must also be stopped. It’s at a tremendous level. What we’re doing and the incredible job being done by border security, ICE, Border Patrol, local police, and the military — the military has been incredible. And we’re stopping them. It’s a process, you wouldn’t believe how tough. But we’re stopping them in record numbers.

At this moment, there is a debate over funding border security and the wall, also called — so that I give them a little bit of an out — “steel slats.” We don’t use the word “wall” necessarily, but it has to be something special to do the job — steel slats.

I’ve made my position very clear: Any measure that funds the government must include border security. It has to. Not for political purposes but for our country, for the safety of our community.

This is not merely my campaign promise, this is the promise every lawmaker made. It is the solemn promise to protect and defend the United States of America. And it is our sacred obligation. We have no choice.

For decades, Washington abandoned this commitment and allowed millions and millions of people to enter our country illegally and over the objections of the American people. No one voiced or voted for a policy, no one endorsed this policy, and no one ratified this policy. It was a total assault on our democracy itself.

Illegal immigration costs our nation $275 billion a year — you hear many different numbers; you can say billions and billions, but the number that I hear most accurate is $275 billion a year, at least — millions of jobs and thousands of innocent lives.

More than 90 percent of heroin comes across our southern border. Heroin deaths have tripled since 2002. Every week, this illegal heroin kills at least 300 Americans and costs our nation over $230 billion to $289 billion, or nearly $5 billion a week.

I spoke with President Xi of China, and he has agreed to make fentanyl — another one of the big, big problems, and probably, I think, it’s just gone to number one; kills 80,000 people a year in our country — he’s going to make that a major crime in China. And if you get caught, you pay a major penalty; it’s called the “death penalty.” And it wasn’t listed as a crime until I spoke to him. So I appreciate President Xi for doing that. That’s a tremendous — that’s going to have a tremendous impact. (Applause.)

Every day, 10 known or suspected terrorists try to gain entry into our country. Every day, 2,000 illegal aliens try to cross our borders. They try. We get most of them. It’s hard without a wall.

Every year, 50,000 illegal children are smuggled by coyotes and criminals into our country. In the last two years alone, ICE officers arrested criminal aliens charged with or convicted of 100,000 assaults, 30,000 sex crimes, and 4,000 murders. It’s rough stuff.

Yet, the Democrats continue to oppose border security, no matter how many innocent people get hurt or die. Ridiculously and dangerously, certain people want open borders, which allow potentially massive crime.

Our nation has spent trillions of dollars and sacrificed thousands of brave young lives defending the borders of foreign nations. I am asking Congress to defend the border of our nation for a tiny fraction — tiny fraction of the cost.

Essential to border security is a powerful, physical barrier. Walls work whether we like it or not. They work better than anything.

In Israel, 99.9 percent successful. Think of it. I spoke to Benjamin Netanyahu, Prime Minister, two days ago. We were talking about it. He said it’s 99.9. I mean, he came up; I didn’t ask. He said, 99.9 percent successful.

We have proposed a steel slat barrier to halt the deadly flow of these illegal traffickers, smugglers, and terrorists.

Every day that we deprive our Border Patrol and ICE officers the resources they need, we put many innocent lives in harm’s way. It should be bipartisan. I think it will end up being bipartisan. I really do.

Illegal immigration also strains public services that Americans depend on. And illegal immigration drives down wages for the neediest Americans. No one who calls themselves a progressive should support illegal immigration. Open borders hurts poor Americans more than anyone else in our society.

In life, there are certain principles worth fighting for — principles that are more important than politics, party, or personal convenience. The safety and security and sovereignty of the United States is the most important principle of all. If we don’t stand strong for our national borders, then we cease to be a nation and we betray our commitment to the loyal citizens of our great country.

I look forward to signing a bill that fulfills our fundamental duty to the American people. It is all about — and I say this in any way they want to hear it — it’s all about America First. We have to put our country first. We have to put our people first. And we have to put safety first.

So thank you all very much. And we’ll be working on that — Mitch and Paul and Kevin, and everybody — and we’ll see what we can do. But hopefully that will all come together.