The House Appropriations Committee has introduced a fiscal year 2019 Homeland Security bill that includes $5 billion for a border wall that spans 200 miles and money to hire more ICE and border patrol agents.

This could trigger a showdown with the Senate since that chamber only included $1.6 billion for a wall in its bill. President Donald Trump threatened a shut down of the government if he does not get more.

The Bill

The bill wants $51.4 billion for the Department of Homeland Security, which is $3.7 billion more than the 2018 fiscal year:

In addition, the bill includes $6.7 billion – the same as the President’s request – for major disaster relief and emergency response activities through the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).

The legislation also includes $5 billion for physical barriers and associated technology along the U.S. southern border. This amount provides for over 200 miles of new physical barrier construction. Additionally, the bill includes $223 million for 140 new Customs and Border Protection (CBP) canine teams to initiate a five-year strategy towards achieving 100 percent scanning on the southern border.

“The Committee takes its role in safeguarding our homeland and protecting our citizens seriously. Globalization, cybersecurity, and terrorism are changing our way of life and we need to change with it. This bill fully supports our men and women on the frontline who work tirelessly to keep us safe. The bill also provides the necessary funding for critical technology and physical barriers to secure our borders. It is a balanced approach that enhances our capabilities and preparedness,” Appropriations Committee Chairman Rodney Frelinghuysen said.

The Customs and Border Protection (CBP) will receive an increase of $3.8 billion from 2018. The bill wants the CBP to have $17.8 billion, including the money for the wall and $126 million for border technology. The committee wants 375 new border patrol agents.

ICE, which has faced opposition from the left and demands for its elimination, will have the biggest raise. The bill requests $7.4 billion for the agency, which is $328 million more than 2018. Out of this amount, $78 million will go to hiring 400 more agents and support staff.

The Appropriations Committee decided to distribute $1.9 billion, which is $275 million more than requested, “for domestic and international investigations programs, including efforts to combat human trafficking, child exploitation, cybercrime, visa screening, and drug smuggling.”

Detention and removal programs will gain $4.1 billion and 44,000 detention beds.

The committee honored Trump’s request of $132 million “for E-Verify to help companies ensure their employees may legally work in the United States.”

Reactions

Rep. Charles Fleischmann (R-TN) and others admitted they may not get the $5 billion for the wall through the Senate. Their counterparts on the Senate Appropriations Committee have been working with Democrats on its bill.

Granted, the Republicans only have a seat majority in the Senate and bipartisan comes a little easier with a smaller majority.

As I mentioned earlier, Democrats and people on the left have called for the elimination of ICE. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (CA) wants to overhaul the agency and has done everything she can “to prevent spending bills from including money for new agents or border wall funding.”

According to The Washington Examiner, Republicans insist the wall and more agents are needed:

But Republicans said Tuesday that the agents and and wall are needed to stop the flow of drugs and gangs across the southern border.

“Cartels are trafficking $64 billion a year in drugs and people across our border and much of it comes through one small stretch at the Rio Grande Valley,” said Rep. Kevin Yoder, R-Kansas, who chairs the Appropriations Homeland Security subcommittee. “This bill takes the largest steps in years toward finally fulfilling our promise to the American people to secure the border.”

The legislation calls for spending $4.1 billion on detention and removal programs for illegal immigrants who cross the southern border. The funding would pay for 44,000 detention beds, an increase of 3,480 beds.

Rep. Nita Lowey (D-NY), the top Democrat on the committee, said the $5 billion wall number “unacceptable” and that it’s “a non-starter given numerous other needs in areas such as education and health care.”