House Leaders Postpone Contentious Border Bill Vote Indefinitely

House leaders in Congress have postponed indefinitely a vote on a border security bill, known as the “Secure Our Borders First Act.”

The bill would penalize the Department of Homeland Security if it fails to stop all illegal border crossings within five years.

The postponement comes as Congress faces a February 27th deadline to fund DHS.

The border bill is sponsored by newly-named Homeland Security Committee Chairman Michael McCaul.

He’s a Texas Republican who calls the bill the “strongest border security bill” ever.

But Democrats, some conservative Republicans and union that represents U.S. Border Patrol agents disagree.

The bill calls for penalties against Homeland Security if it fails to stop all illegal border crossings along the entire southwest border with Mexico within five years.

The legislation also calls for more border fencing and a fleet of new drones, a proposal that ignores a recent internal DHS report claiming the border drone program is not a good use of taxpayer money.

Shawn Moran is Vice President of the National Border Patrol Council, the patrol’s union.

Moran says the bill, known as HR 399, is a disappointment. The Council claims the bill will “serve as window dressing” with respect to border security.

He says it falls short because it doesn’t call for more and better equipped agents in the field.

The Council is specifically advocating for an additional 5000 agents, more M-4 rifles and better communications equipment. None of those points is addressed in the proposed legislation.

“The National Border Patrol Council opposes HR 399 in its current form due to its lack of a strategy to increase border security and its failure to close loopholes that amount to a catch-and-release program for many immigration crimes,” said Moran.

Staff at the conservative Center for Immigration Studies in Washington, D.C. agree.They say Congress should instead legislate harsher penalties on people who illegally cross the border.

Bloomberg News correspondent Billy House reports on a private meeting where some House Republicans said the bill did not go far enough because it did not address Republican plans to confront the White House over President Obama’s executive action on immigration.

However H.R. 399 plays out in Congress, the White House has said the President will veto any border security legislation that proposes to dilute or eliminate his immigration initiatives.

Staff at the conservative Center for Immigration Studies in Washington, D.C. agree.They say Congress should instead legislate harsher penalties on people who illegally cross the border.

Bloomberg News correspondent Billy House reports on a private meeting where some House Republicans said the bill did not go far enough because it did not address Republican plans to confront the White House over President Obama’s executive action on immigration.

However H.R. 399 plays out in Congress, the White House has said the President will veto any border security legislation that proposes to dilute or eliminate his immigration initiatives.

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