Heartland Congressional delegation split paths on spending plan

Published: Feb. 14, 2019 at 4:28 PM CST
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While several representing the area spoke of compromise, U.S. Senator Ben Sasse and U.S. Rep. Don Bacon expressed frustration at the $300 billion spending bill that cleared Congress on Thursday; while U.S. Rep. Steve King struck a blow against Democrats.

“This is a crappy way to spend taxpayers’ money. Here’s how broken the process was: This monster spends more than $300 billion over 1,100 pages. That’s $270 million a page. No senator is even pretending to have read this dang swamp thing.”

“I’ve listened to Nebraskans and they have been clear they want both border security and government to function. The bipartisan bill I voted for today keeps the government open and provides a historic $22.5 billion in investment for border security and construction.”

The vast majority of the legislation mirrors text from six appropriations bills passed by the Senate Appropriations Committee during 2018.

The $22.5 billion in this bill is the largest ever investment in Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and ICE through the regular appropriations process.

Rep. Don Bacon, R-Neb., 3rd Dist.

"This compromise from Democratic leadership was anemic at best, and I remain concerned this is not enough to fully secure our border. Instead of the 234 miles requested by Border Patrol, the compromise consists of 55 miles or targeted wall. However, I did vote for it after we negotiated that the targeted areas are where the Border Patrol has identified they are needed, along with the type of wall that is most effective. Though the compromise deal was too small, it is better than doing nothing, continued gridlock, and another shutdown that hurt many individuals, families and businesses."

“No bill is perfect. But Congress has a responsibility to find compromises that keep the government funded and address the issues facing our country. President Trump has demonstrated time and again that he is willing to be flexible and negotiate a solution to the humanitarian and security crisis at the border. I appreciate that leadership and wish Democratic leaders would do more to negotiate in the same spirit.

“As I’ve said many times, I have concerns about the precedent that could be set with the use of emergency action to re-appropriate funds. Accordingly, I will study the President’s declaration closely. The Constitution grants Congress the authority to appropriate federal dollars, so I’m sure such action will be litigated in the courts. What’s clear, however, is that the president takes the situation at our border seriously and that Democrats do not. It defies reason that Democrats are so committed to an open borders agenda.”

“Negotiating in good faith and working towards a compromise means both sides get things they want and things they don’t. There’s a lot of good in this compromise legislation, but there are also parts that fall short.

“We successfully fought back against radical and unreasonable positions from our Democratic colleagues — like abolishing ICE and borders all together — in order to reach a deal that provides critical funds for border security and gives the president the tools to curb illegal immigration and the flow of drugs into Iowa and the rest of the country.

“However, I’m frustrated this bill fails to extend the Violence Against Women Act, legislation I have long called on to be modernized and reauthorized. It also contains a provision that could hamstring federal law enforcement efforts and open the door for illegal criminals to evade deportation using vulnerable children. While it sets up the critical framework for a border wall, I’m concerned there are provisions tucked into this compromise bill that will actually establish roadblocks for wall construction in areas where it is needed.

“At the end of the day, this legislation is a key starting point that will allow the president to move forward on desperately needed border security efforts.”

Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa, 4th Dist.

"I have been asking the president to declare a national emergency to address border security for months, and I support his doing so today. President Trump is on solid Constitutional ground, and I hope he uses this authority to build all of the wall that's needed, which means extending it until illegal aliens stop going around the end. Americans understand that if a 2,000-mile wall facilitated illegal immigration, Democrats would be clamoring for a national emergency of their own to build it.

"In fact, the government shutdown allowed the President to show the American public that the Democrats' political interests in an open borders agenda which places the desires of illegal aliens above the needs and wishes of the American people. The conference report that was produced in the wake of the shutdown is woefully insufficient to begin to address our border security needs, just as the Democrats who helped draft it wanted and ensured."

Rep. Cindy Axne, D-Iowa, 3rd Dist.

"Tonight I voted for the bipartisan, bicameral deal to keep the government open and strengthen our border security. I strongly urge the President to sign this deal. It’s time to move our country forward."

, R-Neb., 1st Dist., did not issue a response.