Homeland Security

Beto O’Rourke would ‘take the wall down’ between El Paso and Mexico
Possible 2020 candidate says political leaders are projecting ‘fear and anxiety’ that hurts residents along the border

Former Rep. Beto O'Rourke, D-Texas, said that if it were up to him, he would tear down the border fence separating his hometown of El Paso, Texas, from Mexico. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Potential 2020 presidential candidate and former Rep. Beto O’Rourke said Thursday that if it were up to him, the border barrier separating his old El Paso, Texas, district from Mexico would come down.

“Yes, absolutely. I’d take the wall down,” the Texas Democrats said in an interview on MSNBC, on the American side of the border wall with a view into Ciudad Juárez, Mexico.

Why 19 Democrats and 109 Republicans voted against the government funding deal
Democratic defections were mostly Hispanic Caucus members, progressives concerned about immigration enforcement

New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez joined 18 other House Democrats and 109 House Republicans in voting against the compromise spending package Thursday night. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

House Democrats were just two votes short Thursday night of being able to clear a fiscal 2019 appropriations package without Republican help, while less than half of the GOP conference voted for the bill to avert another government shutdown.

That dynamic may foreshadow battles ahead as the new House Democratic majority will try to exert its influence over government spending while still having to deal with a Republican president and Senate. 

Most 2020 Democratic candidates opposed spending bill
Booker, Harris, Gillibrand and Warren voted no, while Klobuchar voted yes

Gillibrand and her liberal colleagues in the Senate who are running for president opposed the spending bill. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Senate Democrats eyeing the White House split their vote Thursday on the compromise spending package that would avert another government shutdown, with nearly all the candidates who have already announced bids voting against it.

The Senate overwhelmingly adopted the conference report, 83-16, but five Democrats, including four presidential contenders — Sens. Cory Booker of New Jersey, Kirsten Gillibrand of New York, Kamala Harris of California and Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts — joined 11 Republicans in voting ‘no.’

House passes appropriations package to avert shutdown, sends to Trump
President will sign legislation but declare national emergency to free up more money for border wall

Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., conducts her weekly news conference Thursday in which she fielded questions about the government funding bill. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

The House passed a spending package Thursday night, completing congressional action to avert a government shutdown with barely a day to spare. 

The final vote was 300-128. Nineteen Democrats voted against the measure, while 109 Republicans, representing a majority of their conference, were opposed. 

Legal fight expected for Trump’s national emergency declaration
Experts predict high court will back his power to do so, but maybe not accessing military monies

President Donald Trump, here addressing reporters on Jan. 10, will sign a government shutdown-avoiding bill and declare a national emergency at the border to access Pentagon funds for his proposed southern border barrier. (Mark Wilson/Getty Images file photo)

President Donald Trump will declare a national emergency at the southern border to redirect military funds to his border wall project after lawmakers gave him $4.3 billion less than his $5.7 billion ask. But the move is expected to bring court fights that could sink his plan. 

A House-Senate conference committee could only agree to give the president just shy of $1.4 billion for the barrier project as conferees struck a deal needed to avert another partial government shutdown. The president — who earlier this week said he couldn’t say he was happy about the contents of the compromise — reluctantly agreed to sign it into law after the Senate and House sign off during floor votes Thursday.

Ocasio-Cortez, other female progressive freshmen will vote against border deal
Ocasio-Cortez, Omar, Pressley and Tlaib have called for ending DHS funding, but the deal includes an increase

Democratic Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, left, and Ilhan Omar attend a rally on Feb. 7 on the East Front of the Capitol to call on Congress to defund Immigration and Customs Enforcement and U.S. Customs and Border Protection. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Democratic Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ilhan Omar, Ayanna S. Pressley and Rashida Tlaib will vote against the massive spending measure agreed to by a bipartisan conference committee because they oppose an increase in funding to the Department of Homeland Security.

“This Administration continues to threaten the dignity and humanity of our immigrant population,” the lawmakers said in a press release Thursday. “The Department of Homeland Security does not deserve an increase in funding, and that is why we intend to vote no on this funding package.”

Trump has yet to make final decision on border bill as shutdown looms
Conservatives blast legislation on Fox morning show as White House staff evaluates it

Fox News Channel and radio talk show host Sean Hannity interviews President Donald Trump before a campaign rally in Las Vegas in September 2018. (Ethan Miller/Getty Images file photo)

President Donald Trump has not yet made a final decision about signing a massive spending measure needed to avert another government shutdown that includes far less for his southern border than he demanded, a White House official said.

“POTUS has not made a final decision. We are still reviewing the bill,” said the White House official, who has knowledge of the president’s decision-making.

House Democrats give leaders a pass on breaking 72-hour rule for spending deal
Few members, however, were willing to stake a position until seeing the bill

Wisconsin Rep. Mark Pocan seemed understanding of the trade-offs made to get to the spending deal but said he wanted to read the bill text first before deciding on his vote. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Most House Democrats are giving their leadership a pass for breaking a chamber rule that requires bill text to be released 72 hours before a vote so they can quickly move a funding package before Friday’s deadline to avert another government shutdown.

But many of the same Democrats also said Wednesday before the text of a seven-bill appropriations package was released that they couldn’t make a decision on how they’d vote until reading it — which they’d only have about 24 hours to do.

FEMA administrator departs, says it’s ‘time for me to go home to my family’
Brock Long departs after questions about use of government vehicles

Federal Emergency Management Agency Administrator Brock Long is leaving the agency. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Federal Emergency Management Agency Administrator Brock Long, who during his tenure had to repay the government for using vehicles in a nonofficial capacity, resigned his position Wednesday.

Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen said in a statement that Deputy Administrator Pete Gaynor will become the acting administrator.

Bill to ‘repatriate’ deported veterans gets new life in Democratic House
Bipartisan bill would provide path to citizenship for immigrant veterans deported after committing nonviolent crimes

Rep. Vicente Gonzalez, D-Texas, was one of two lawmakers to re-introduce a bill this week to help immigrant veterans gain permanent legal status in the U.S. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Two lawmakers have revived a bipartisan bill to bring deported veterans back to the United States as permanent legal residents and open up an expedited path to citizenship for pre-9/11 noncitizen veterans.

This week, GOP Rep. Don Young of Alaska and Rep. Vicente Gonzalez of Texas reintroduced their bill from last Congress — the “Repatriate Our Patriots Act.” It had floundered in 2017’s GOP-controlled Judiciary Committee.