Senators Chuck Schumer (D-NY), Jeff Bingaman (D-NM) and Jon Tester (D-MT) today “revealed that H.R. 1, the Continuing Resolution (CR) approved by House Republicans, could result in 870 fewer border patrol agents guarding our nation’s borders,” according to a joint press release.
The senators called the cuts a “giant step backward in securing our border” and said that they could effectively repeal the emergency bipartisan border security bill passed last Congress. The proposed cuts would also reduce funding for border security fencing, infrastructure and technology by $272 million.
In a letter to Congressman Harold Rogers, Chairman of the House Committee on Appropriations, and Congressman Robert Aderholt, Chairman of the House Appropriations Homeland Security Subcommittee, the senators called the cuts put forth in the CR “dangerous” and “irresponsible,” and said they would harm the security of our nation.
The senators wrote, “We are troubled to learn that the proposed House Continuing Resolution provides funding for only 20,500 agents, which effectively nullifies the very border security gains that were made in August, and again leaves our agents understaffed against the dangerous cartels that we were attempting to combat through our emergency legislation.”
The senators said that a bipartisan emergency border security bill passed in August of last year allocated $600 million to bring the total number of border patrol agents up to 21,370 – an increase of 1,000. The House CR reduces that number by 870 to 20,500. The House proposal also reduces the Department of Homeland Security budget for border security fencing, infrastructure, and technology by $272 million. Reducing the funding available to repair the fence will greatly reduce its effectiveness, wasting the billions of dollars invested to build it in the first place. With a recent Government Accountability Office (GAO) report indicating that only four percent of our northern border is secure, and with thousands of attempted incursions across our southern border every year, the senators called the cuts proposed by the GOP “simply dangerous.”