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Statement of Administration Policy: H.R. 21 - Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2019 and H.J. Res. 1 - Making Further Continuing Appropriations for the Department of Homeland Security for Fiscal Year 2019

January 03, 2019


(Rep. Lowey, D-NY)

The Administration opposes passage of H.R. 21, the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2019, providing appropriations for the fiscal year (FY) ending September 30, 2019, for the Departments of Agriculture, Commerce, Housing and Urban Development (HUD), Justice, Interior, State, Transportation, Treasury, and for other purposes. The Administration also opposes passage of H.J. Res. 1, providing appropriations for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) through February 8, 2019, and for other purposes. The Administration is committed to working with the Congress to reopen lapsed agencies, but cannot accept legislation that provides unnecessary funding for wasteful programs while ignoring the Nation's urgent border security needs.

In recent months, the number of people attempting to cross the border illegally has risen to 2,000 per day. 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.

The first duty of the Federal Government is to defend the Nation and its citizens, which is why President Donald J. Trump has made addressing illegal immigration one of his top priorities since taking office. Specifically, the Administration has repeatedly encouraged the Congress to provide resources needed for DHS to secure the border. For FY 2019, the Administration has made it clear that the Government needs an investment of at least $5 billion for border security, along with the flexibility necessary to utilize these funds efficiently. The appropriations bill, H.R. 21, and the corresponding H.J. Res. 1, does not come close to providing these necessary investments and authorities.

Despite not meeting the minimum requirements identified by those who are directly responsible for the Nation's border security, this package funds a number of unnecessary programs at excessive levels well beyond what was put forward in the FY 2019 Budget. The six bills provided for under H.R. 21 provide funding at levels nearly 20 percent higher than the President's FY 2019 Budget. For instance, H.R. 21 provides $12 billion more for international affairs programs, 29 percent higher than the President's request. This includes $2.9 billion more than the request for economic and development assistance, including funding for the West Bank/Gaza, Syria, and Pakistan, where our foreign aid is either frozen or under review. It includes $700 million more than requested for the United Nations, including restoring funding for the United Nations Population Fund. The bill would also undermine the President's Mexico City Policy (Presidential Memorandum of January 23, 2017), which prohibits the funding of foreign nongovernmental organizations that promote or perform abortions. Further, H.R. 21 includes approximately $2 billion in excessive Environmental Protection Agency funding, providing funds beyond the Agency's core mission and including funding for programs that can and should be executed at the local level. The bill also includes substantial unrequested funding for HUD programs, including $7.1 billion above the FY 2019 Budget request for HUD rental assistance programs. These and other excessive spending items makes the lack of adequate border funding in the combined package all the more unacceptable.

The Administration looks forward to working with the Congress to enact appropriations that will adequately secure the Nation's borders and get the Federal Government back to work for the American people as soon as possible.

If either H.R. 21 or H.J. Res. 1 were presented to the President, his advisors would recommend that he veto the bill.

Donald J. Trump, Statement of Administration Policy: H.R. 21 - Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2019 and H.J. Res. 1 - Making Further Continuing Appropriations for the Department of Homeland Security for Fiscal Year 2019 Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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