FederalImmigration & BorderIssuesTaxes & SpendingRepublicans Criticize Federal Appropriations Bill for Limiting Border Security Spending

The bill includes hundreds of millions for Customs and Border Protection, but some Republicans say it “prohibits” spending on border security.
December 21, 2022
A proposed federal spending bill raised the ire of some Republican members of Congress for containing language that seems to preclude spending on border security measures focused on deterrence and preventing illegal entry.

The nearly 4,200-page document is the result of negotiations between Republicans and Democrats to continue funding for the federal government before the Friday deadline.

The spending bill includes $858 billion for defense spending and $773 billion for non-defense discretionary spending, for a total of almost $1.7 trillion.

Congressman Troy Nehls (R-TX-22) homed in on a portion of the bill that prohibits the use of funds set aside for U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) “to acquire, maintain, or extend border security technology and capabilities, except for technology and capabilities to improve Border Patrol processing.”

The bill would grant CBP an additional $1.6 billion for “border management requirements” and allocate $340 million for Immigration and Customs Enforcement for “non-detention border management requirements.”

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Nehls tweeted, “This $1.7 trillion spending bill prohibits Border Patrol funding from being used to secure the border. And only allows flights for noncitizen transport aka – Illegal aliens – What a joke.”

Sen. Chris Murphy (D-CT) — the chair of the Senate Appropriations Committee’s subcommittee on homeland security — outlined some of the spending measures in the bill in a news release on Tuesday.

“If we’re going to ensure the Department of Homeland Security has the resources it needs to tackle threats to our national security and manage our borders we need to pass a full year budget,” Murphy said, calling it a “reasonable compromise.”

The senator added, “Also, for the first time ever, this bill includes dedicated funding to stop the flow of illegal firearms going south across our border.”

According to the summary by Murphy’s office, the bill designates $60 million to hire 125 CBP officers and includes other line items, such as $70 million for “non-intrusive inspection systems” and $10 million for bolstering the efforts of Homeland Security Investigations.

The news release said the border security funding is focused on “operational capabilities” and that “resources are included for ICE for non-detention border management, including for medical costs for noncitizens in custody and transportation requirements.”

The bill also sets aside $133 million to achieve the “refugee admissions goal” of 125,000 individuals for Fiscal Year 2023.

Congressman Dan Bishop (R-NC-09) listed some of what he called the “most egregious provisions” in the compromise.

“It expressly prohibits CBP funding from being used to improve border security,” Bishop wrote.

Bishop derided the bill’s allotment of $410 million for border security for Jordan, Lebanon, Egypt, Tunisia, and Oman in light of the limits on border security funding for the U.S.

Texas House Speaker Dade Phelan (R-Beaumont) commented on Bishop’s analysis in a social media post.

“I am not familiar with (Bishop) but his & his staff’s scrutinizing thread of $1.7 trillion and 4,155 pages of spending is a Christmas gift to taxpayers!” Phelan tweeted on Tuesday.

Illegal immigration has been particularly concerning for the State of Texas and the federal government in recent weeks due to the scheduled end of expulsions under the special Title 42 public health order implemented at the beginning of the pandemic. U.S. District Judge Emmet Sullivan in Washington, D.C. had ordered the Biden administration to end Title 42 on Wednesday, but Chief Justice John Roberts stayed Sullivan’s decision, meaning the policy will remain in place for now.

Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) was among those who voted in favor of moving the bill forward. Cornyn said he disagreed with the “flawed, broken process” that led to the draft and supported the legislation only “reluctantly,” according to POLITICO.


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Hayden Sparks

Hayden Sparks is a senior reporter for The Texan and a lifelong resident of the Lone Star State. He has coached competitive speech and debate and has been involved in politics since a young age. One of Hayden's favorite quotes is by Sam Houston: "Texas has yet to learn submission to any oppression, come from what source it may."