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Border Security and Enforcement Continuing Appropriations Resolution, 2014

Floor Speech

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

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Mr. CARTER. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself as much time as I may consume.

I rise to present the House with a bill that sustains our critical border security and enforcement operations within the Department of Homeland Security.

Right now, at this very moment, there are brave men and women patrolling our borders, manning our ports of entry, and conducting border enforcement, drug interdiction and investigative missions, but they are not being paid.

Right now, at this very moment, border security and enforcement operations are being conducted but with minimal essential personnel.

Right now, at this very moment, the National Targeting Center, at which Customs and Border Protection officers check traveler watch lists and ensure that dangerous criminals and cargo never reach American soil, is operating, but its personnel are not being paid.

Right now, at this very moment, the E-Verify system is not operating, making it impossible for employers to check the lawful immigration status of potential employees.

So this bill before us provides for continuing appropriations to ensure that frontline agents along our borders receive their pay and that certain components of DHS can carry out their border security and enforcement missions at full strength.

Let me remind my colleagues that our border is not secure. In fact, our border is constantly under siege from smugglers and traffickers alike, and it is our duty to ensure that sufficient resources are provided to carry out the necessary security, enforcement and interdiction efforts. That is precisely what this bill does.

This bill ensures that Border Patrol can fully conduct its operations from San Diego to Brownsville and all along our northern border as well. This bill ensures that ICE can fully conduct its investigations. This bill ensures that the Coast Guard can fully conduct interdiction in both the source and transit zones and off the coasts of California, Texas, Florida, and all maritime approaches to the United States. This bill ensures that our immigration verification and biometric identity systems are up and running. This bill also takes steps to turn on our E-Verify system.

Mr. Speaker, all of us are aware that the government is shut down despite the numerous attempts to move forward. We have repeatedly offered versions of continuing resolutions to sustain the government's operations, but to no avail. Furthermore, we have offered to negotiate, to convene a conference and work out the differences in a professional and orderly manner, but such offers have been refused out of hand.

This bill is yet another offer to the other side of the aisle to at least fund vital components of the government. We have a duty to ensure our borders and coastlines are safe and secure and that our laws are being enforced. This bill does this without increasing the rate of spending and in a manner entirely consistent with the text of the noncontroversial H.J. Res. 59. In short, the bill before us is about getting our priorities right.

It is my hope that the passage of this bill will not only support our border security and frontline agencies but will also lead to the reopening of the entire Federal Government.

In closing, I urge my friends on the other side of the aisle to lower their partisan blinders, to come to the table and work out the current impasse so that we can get on with the business of fixing our Nation's budgetary mess.

Mr. Speaker, I reserve the balance of my time.

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Mr. CARTER. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.

Mr. Speaker, if anyone has been watching what has gone on in this House for the last couple of weeks and this week, it reminds me of the movie ``Groundhog Day.'' The alarm rings, and we stand up and we do the same thing and we hear the same arguments consistently. I mean, you could have just heard this argument, and that is the argument that has been made throughout the entire almost-2 weeks now. So maybe it is time to talk about something that is called regular order in this House of Representatives.

We have something called the appropriations process. We divide up the funding of the government into 12 sections, and we have classification of those sections and each subcommittee presents a bill to the committee for the funding of a certain Department. In our case, Mr. Price and I deal with Homeland Security. That bill is then brought to the floor and passed by the floor after it passes out of regular committee, and then it is sent to our colleagues in the Senate on the other side of this great building. At that point in time, normal procedure would be for them to deal with the appropriations process on their side.

So I can't speak for all of government, but I certainly can speak for Homeland Security, and Mr. Price, I don't think, would dispute this: we passed our bill out of the House. So we don't even need to be here today, and we shouldn't even have needed to be here last week when we were here because, quite frankly, we have given a bill to deal with the problems of financing and supporting those people who defend our borders and all of the other things that we take care of in Homeland, and it has been sitting on the desk of Mr. Harry Reid in the Senate since June of this year, a long time before this so-called crisis arose. We could have it completely passed and signed by the President if the Senate had just done regular order. But they haven't.

So as it relates to the issues we discuss here today, the reason these issues even come up is that the Democrat-controlled Senate has not done their job, and they have not dealt with the appropriations process.

Today, as last week, we are dealing with an important portion of this process. It is so important that the very security of our Nation depends upon a secure border. The great debate that has gone on for 3 or 4 years, recent years as we look at the overall immigration crisis, is: What about the security of our borders?

We have spent billions of dollars making it as secure as we can, and we will continue to secure those borders. All we think we should do is pay the people that are doing the job now and get the border secure. This is important to the future of our Nation.

Mr. Speaker, I yield back the balance of my time.

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