Wittman Statement on Bill to Fund VA-01 Priorities, Secure Border
WASHINGTON – Congressman Rob Wittman (VA-01) released this statement after voting in favor of the Conference Report to Accompany H.J. Res 31 – The Consolidated Appropriations Act:
“Although not perfect, this bill makes an important down payment for the construction of physical barriers and other border security measures as well as funding for priorities in the First District. The choice tonight was between a government shutdown or the chance to make progress towards securing our border.
“The conference report allows for $22.54 billion to go to border security, including $1.375 billion in funding for a physical barrier. It also increases the amount of immigration judge teams, increases funding for our federal law enforcement teams combatting drug traffickers and other bad actors, and includes funding for detention beds at a higher level than the amount enacted in FY18. The alternative would have been another Continuing Resolution (CR) or another shutdown – both unacceptable and both lacking the funding necessary to start securing our border. Today, we saw a bipartisan majority vote for this legislation and I believe that shows, although not all were happy with every provision in the bill, we all understand the importance of moving the country forward. Congress needs to act to build upon this legislation and consider policies that will better deter illegal immigration – policies like ending chain migration, implementing e-verify, and eliminating the visa-lottery system are reforms we should consider.
“Although the focus of the fight has been Department of Homeland Security funding, it also includes critical priorities for the First District that I have long been advocating for. The conference report designates $660 million for broadband expansion to rural communities, $292.7 million for improvements to our coastal seaports – such as the Port of Virginia – to modernize infrastructure and ensure economic competitiveness, a much-deserved pay raise for federal employees, and finally, includes important pro-life protections.
“This legislation will fund the government until the end of this fiscal year and allow the legislative branch to make the proper accountability adjustments now to avoid this same situation in September. But it should have never come to this. Shutdown showdowns like this would be completely avoidable if we would put the proper legislation in place.
“Members of Congress need to get their work done and be held accountable if they don’t. That’s why I have introduced legislation called the No Budget, No Pay Act, the Stay on Schedule Resolution, and the Inaction Has Consequences Act. Americans are tired of inaction being the new normal in Washington. It’s time to stop preaching accountability and finally pass measures, like mine into law.”
Congressman Rob Wittman represents the 1st District of Virginia. He serves on the House Natural Resources Committee and the House Armed Services Committee, where he serves as the ranking member of the Seapower and Projection Forces Subcommittee.