The White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) released a statement late Thursday informing House Democrats that any bills they pass without funding for border barriers will not make it past the president’s desk.
“If either H.R. 21 or H.J. Res. 1 were presented to the President, his advisors would recommend that he veto the bill,” the statement said at its conclusion.
The two resolutions provide funding for numerous federal agencies, but nothing for barriers at the border. H.R. 21 provides funding for the Departments of Agriculture, Commerce, Housing and Urban Development (HUD), Justice, Interior, State, Transportation and Treasury. H.J. Res. 1 provides appropriations for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). Both measures fund their respective government agencies through the end of fiscal year 2019.
OMB says that the measures are inadequate because of the huge influx of illegal aliens, violent criminals and dangerous drugs crossing the U.S. – Mexico border.
“In recent months, the number of people attempting to cross the border illegally has risen to 2,000 per day,” the statement reads. “Based on 2017 data, an average of more than 300 Americans a week were killed in heroin-involved overdoses—and Mexico is the source of nearly 90 percent of wholesale heroin seized by law enforcement in the United States. In FYs 2017 and 2018, Immigration and Customs Enforcement arrested close to 211,000 aliens convicted of criminal offenses and an additional 55,000 aliens charged with criminal offenses.”
Vice President Mike Pence chimed in shortly after the statement was issued and he made sure the message was clear.
Bottom line – if there’s NO WALL, there’s NO DEAL. pic.twitter.com/Zopic6se0T
— Vice President Mike Pence Archived (@VP45) January 4, 2019
Although clarification from the administration is helpful, it was likely unnecessary. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnel publicly stated in December that the Senate would not vote on any measure until Democrats and the president had come to an agreement. H.R. 21 and H.J. Res. 1 do not contain President Trump’s requirement that a border barrier be funded.
Since the bill won’t be taken up by the Senate, it’s fate is sealed, but Trump isn’t sitting still. He’s found another way to get a physical barrier constructed at the border.
More troops are expected to be deployed to the Southern border to construct or upgrade 160 miles of fencing and provide medical care to a steady stream of migrant families arriving from Central America, according to military sources.
The deployment and fence construction along the California and Arizona borders would be paid for by the Pentagon, from the Department of Defense’s discretionary funding.
Sorry Nancy and Chuck, [insert sad trombone sound here] he’s building the wall with or without you and there’s nothing you can do about it.