The White House on Wednesday took aim at House Republicans for playing “partisan games” for holding a field hearing on the ongoing border crisis — and accused them of failing to support border funding requests.
The House Homeland Security Committee is holding a field hearing in McAllen, Texas on the border crisis — a hearing that includes testimony from Border Patrol Chief Raul Ortiz.
The hearing was being held “to examine the direct link between President Biden and Secretary Mayorkas’ reckless border policies and the unprecedented crisis at our Southwest border” and is one of a number of hearings and visits being held at the border itself after Republicans have promised to hold in-person border hearings.
Republicans have repeatedly blamed the administration’s rolling back of Trump-era border policies, such as the border wall construction, reduced interior enforcement and the Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP) as the reason for the crisis.
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But Democrats and the administration have attempted to blame Republicans for failing to pass certain measures, including immigration reform and funding at the border. The White House dismissed the hearing and sought to focus on its funding requests — including a $4.9 billion supplemental request in December that was opposed by Republicans.
“Instead of playing partisan games at the border, extreme MAGA House Republicans should answer why they are proposing to cut border security funding by up to 20 percent, denying critical resources to the very law enforcement officers they claim to defend,” spokesperson Ian Sams said in a statement.
The White House also noted suggestions by Oversight Chair James Comer last year that “everything is about more money for the Biden administration” and that “we would love to cut off all funding for everything and have a discussion about how to secure this border.”
“The repeated efforts by House Republicans to threaten or vote against border funding reveal they are more interested in using this issue to lob debunked political attacks than actually working with the President on bipartisan solutions to strengthen our immigration system and border security,” Sams said. “Perhaps House Republicans could take the time at this hearing to look the Chief of the Border Patrol in the eye and honestly explain to him why they want to slash the funding needed to combat fentanyl trafficking, stop unlawful border crossings, and conduct other important law enforcement efforts at the border.”
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The administration has also claimed that recent measures that it has introduced, including a humanitarian parole program for up to 30,000 migrants a month from four countries and an expansion of expulsions to include those countries, are working. Officials have noted that a lawsuit backed by 20 GOP-led states is trying to block the humanitarian parole program.
On Wednesday, Republican Chairman Mark Green pushed back against the narrative that the issue at the border was funding, and instead sought to blame the crisis on the administration policies and the leadership of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas.
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“The failure at the southern border is not about money. It’s not about numbers of Border Patrol agents, not about technology. Although all of those things are important and we can do more and will do more,” he said.
“This massive crisis, this human tragedy, is a result of decisions and the incompetence of this secretary,” he said.
Meanwhile, Chief Ortiz told lawmakers that DHS does not have operational control of the southern border, and that “we have some policies in place where we need to ensure that the men and women out there patrolling the border, investigating these criminal cartels are actually allowed to do their job each and every day.”