(Rep. Mark Amodei) – If you have been paying close attention to the news, then you already know that our nation’s debt and border crisis are the two main issues confronting the federal government lately.
I’m going to highlight the bills that House Republicans recently passed to address both problems and discredit a few lies that my colleagues on the other side of the aisle have made about our efforts.
AMERICA’S CREDIT CARD IS MAXED OUT
Our national debt has reached an all-time high, exacerbated by two years of President Biden’s spending sprees. The United States is now at risk of defaulting on its debt shortly unless Congress and the President can come to a compromise on raising the debt ceiling, which is a cap on how much debt the U.S. government can accrue.
When your credit card is maxed out, you don’t keep spending – you cut back. Well, the same is true for our national debt. America’s credit card is maxed out and we now need to make major spending reforms. That’s why I believe that raising the debt ceiling must be done in conjunction with measures to cut reckless D.C. spending.
A few weeks back, House Republicans voted to do just that with the passage of the Limit, Save, Grow Act. This legislation will responsibly raise the debt ceiling into next year all while limiting spending, saving the taxpayer trillions of dollars, and growing our economy. Notable spending cuts include slashing unobligated COVID funds, preventing President Biden’s student loan bailout, and rescinding President Biden’s 87,000 new IRS agents. Overall, this legislation would result in $4.5 trillion in savings.
Rather than working with the House majority on a reasonable solution to our nation’s debt crisis, President Biden wasted critical time by refusing to negotiate. He wanted Congress to raise the debt ceiling without implementing any changes to how the government spends and borrows trillions of dollars. However, doing this would only schedule another financial crisis on the American people’s calendar.
After months of delay from President Biden, negotiations are finally underway for a responsible debt limit increase. However, the clock is ticking, and President Biden will have to own this default if he does not come to the table with a serious proposal that limits unchecked spending. Stay tuned.
RESTORING ORDER AT THE BORDER
There is no denying that immigration has long been an issue in this country. However, the situation at our southern border has become a full-blown humanitarian and national security crisis thanks to Biden’s open-border policies.
At the beginning of his Administration, the President took 94 executive actions on immigration, which included halting the construction of the border wall. In the two years he has been in office, there have been over 5 million illegal crossings of our southern border and more than 1.3 million “gotaways.”
And with the recent expiration of Title 42, this crisis is about to go from bad to worse. As a reminder, Title 42 was a policy that had allowed Customs and Border Protection to more easily expel migrants across the southern border.
Now that Title 42 has expired, more and more migrants will be incentivized to cross the border into the United States. It has been estimated that migrant encounters will likely rise to between 8,000 and 15,000 a day. That is more than twice the current rate, and the law enforcement officers and communities along the southern border are not prepared to handle this dramatic surge.
It’s not just the towns along the southern border that are impacted. Unprecedented amounts of fentanyl are flowing into every American community, making fentanyl overdoses one of the leading causes of death for Americans aged 18-49. Additionally, many cities across the nation have been tasked with housing thousands of new migrants, putting a huge strain on already limited services and resources.
That’s why I joined my House Republican colleagues in passing the Secure the Border Act, legislation that will restore sanity and security at the border in the following ways:
- Force the Biden Administration to restart construction of the border wall.
- Deploy technology to the southern border.
- Increase the number of Border Patrol agents and provide bonus pay.
- Strengthen current law to protect unaccompanied children from human trafficking.
- End catch and release.
- End the abuse of executive immigration authority.
- Strengthen and streamline the asylum process.
For years, I have been talking about the need to pass comprehensive border security legislation and I am happy that House Republicans delivered. Sadly, President Biden has already stated that he will veto this bill should it reach his desk. The President would have you believe that doing nothing is the more compassionate solution. This could not be further from the truth.
It is not compassionate to ignore the large amounts of drugs coming through the border and killing Americans. It is not compassionate to embolden desperate migrants to make a dangerous journey where they could be raped or killed. And it is not compassionate to neglect the needs of law enforcement patrolling the border – most of whom are overwhelmed and stretched to their limit.
I urge the President to change course and get behind this legislation because failure to act will continue to be catastrophic.
DEBUNKING DEMOCRAT MISINFORMATION
So far, the President and his allies in Congress have made quite a few false claims about both the Limit, Save, Grow Act and the Secure the Border Act. Here are a few of their false charges along with my response:
False Charge #1: Raising the debt limit should not be up for negotiation.
Response: Negotiating over the debt ceiling is normal. For example, then-Vice President Joe Biden led negotiations surrounding the debt ceiling increase in 2011. During these negotiations, Biden said, “we’ve got to make some real progress” on the long-term debt. Back then, the national debt was around $14 trillion. The national debt is now over $31 trillion, making it even more hypocritical for President Biden to push back on negotiating.
False Charge #2: House Republicans should just do what the President wants and pass a clean debt ceiling increase – which Congress passed three times under the Trump Administration.
Response: There were no clean debt limit increases under the Trump Administration. Every time, House and Senate Democrats participated in negotiations and leveraged the debt limit to demand spending changes and other policies.
False Charge #3: The Limit, Save, Grow Act will cut veterans’ medical care.
Response: There are absolutely no cuts to the VA or veterans’ benefits in the Limit, Save, and Grow Act. If Democrats actually read the bill, they would see there is no text to cut veterans’ benefits.
False Charge #4: The Secure the Border Act will separate families.
Response: Due to decades-old litigation known as the Flores Settlement Agreement, illegal immigrants who claim to be part of a family unit are generally released into the United States. This has inspired many cartel members to pose as a child’s parent to bypass detention requirements and be quickly released. The Secure the Border Act would end this exploitation by mandating that parents and children remain detained together for the duration of their immigration court proceedings.
False Charge #5: The Secure the Border Act is the end of asylum.
Response: This legislation simply standardizes the asylum process to prevent abuse and reduce frivolous claims. Those who benefit the most from this legislation are individuals with valid claims of persecution.
False Charge #6: The Secure the Border Act will mandate the mass deportation of children.
Response: President Biden’s open-border policies caused a massive surge of 370,000 unaccompanied alien children (UACs) to arrive at the southern border in the span of two years. To make matters worse, the President removed requirements to run background checks on sponsors with whom these children are being placed and has since lost track of 85,000 UACs.
According to an eye-opening New York Times expose, many of these underaged children are now working dangerous jobs across the country and are not being cared for properly. The Secure the Border Act will prevent future surges of UACs and protect children from abuse in this country by overseeing their safe return home to their families after they are screened for signs of trafficking or credible fear of persecution.
INTRODUCED: NORTHERN NEVADA LANDS PACKAGE
I was proud to recently reintroduce my Northern Nevada Economic Development and Conservation Act, legislation that will allow for the conveyance of federal lands to Douglas County, Pershing County, Carson City, the City of Fernley, the City of Sparks, and the Incline Village General Improvement District for public purposes and economic development.
Additionally, this bill designates nearly 150,000 acres of wilderness in northern Nevada and removes the possibility of oil and gas leasing in over 300,000 acres of the Ruby Mountains in Elko County. This represents 450,000 acres of land given conservation protections, compared to the less than 40,000 acres identified for development.
In Nevada, everyone recognizes the importance of striking the right balance between our state’s development and conservation needs. The Northern Nevada Economic Development and Conservation Act does exactly that and I’m grateful to the city and county officials, business leaders, and other local experts who provided the input necessary to craft this legislation. I remain committed to seeing it pass the House this year, which will hopefully give the Senate enough time to do its job.
As a Member of the House Appropriations Committee, I am hard at work with my colleagues to markup the appropriations bills that provide money to carry out government programs for Fiscal Year 2024. For those unfamiliar with the term markup, it is a process by which a committee determines whether a bill should be recommended to the House of Representatives for consideration or sent back to the drawing board to be amended or rewritten.
As the Chairman of the House Appropriations Legislative Branch Subcommittee, I recently led the subcommittee markup of the FY24 Legislative Branch funding bill. This bill funds the entire budget of Congress, including the House of Representatives, the Capitol Police, the Library of Congress, and the Architect of the Capitol. It was an exciting responsibility to lead this markup on opening day of the entire appropriations process.
I am proud of this bill, which reflects the acknowledgement that the legislative branch must act as an example for fiscal restraint while serving as an essential branch that is accessible to the American people.
It provides adequate resources to ensure Members of Congress can effectively serve their constituents and maintains funding for House Committees to make certain that essential oversight responsibilities are upheld- which is more important than ever with President Biden in the White House. It also increases funding for Capitol Police to recruit, train, and retain officers. I look forward to seeing this bill, along with the other appropriations bills, through the entire process. Stay tuned.
As always, I look forward to continuing to keep you up to date on the issues you care about most. For additional information, please visit my website at Amodei.house.gov or call my Washington office: (202) 225-6155, Reno office: (775) 686-5760, or Elko phone: (775) 777-7705.
To receive updates on what I am doing in Washington and in Nevada’s 2nd District follow me on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube.