Senator Hassan Statement on Border Security and Government Funding Agreement
Senator Also Responds to the President’s Announcement that He Will Declare a State of Emergency
WASHINGTON – Senator Maggie Hassan issued the following statement today after voting in support of the bipartisan package that invests in border security and fully funds the government through the end of this fiscal year, including significant increases in programs for hard-working Granite Staters and Americans. The Senator also responded to the President’s announcement that he will declare a state of emergency to build the wall.
“I am pleased that the Senate passed a bipartisan compromise agreement to make effective investments in border security, support vital priorities for hard-working Americans, and keep the government open,” Senator Hassan said. “This agreement takes important steps to strengthen drug interdiction efforts, including investing in new technology at the southern border to prevent drug smuggling, boosting detection equipment at international mail facilities, and increasing grant funding at the Department of Justice to support state and local efforts to disrupt illegal opioid distribution. Additionally, this agreement makes important investments in fixing roads and bridges, expanding rural broadband and supporting economic development in rural areas, and protecting our air and water.
“However, I am deeply concerned that the President has said that after he signs this bill he will also declare a state of emergency to build his wall. Members of both parties have expressed strong concerns both about the legality of such a move and the effect it would have on our national security if the President takes money intended for existing military construction projects, such as critical construction projects slated for the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard, to pay for his border wall. Declaring a state of emergency to try to fulfill a campaign slogan is a dangerous path to go down and I strongly urge the President to reconsider.”
Key priorities included in the funding agreement:
- The Opioid Crisis: $468 million for Department of Justice anti-opioid grant funding to help combat heroin, fentanyl, and the illegal distribution and use of opioids; $76.9 million for countering opioids with detection equipment and staffing at international mail facilities.
- Smart, Effective Border Security Measures: $564 million for non-intrusive inspection equipment at our land ports of entry to scan inbound cars, trucks, and cargo for narcotics and other contraband; $100 million for border security technology between the ports on our southern and northern borders such as mobile surveillance capability and innovative towers; $191 million for Ports of Entry construction.
- Housing and Infrastructure: $3.3 billion in Community Development Block Grants (CDBG); $3.25 billion for Federal Highways to improve roads and bridges; $900 million for the TIGER grant program.
- Rural Communities: More than $1 billion in rural housing loans, more than $1 billion rural business development loans and grants, and more than $500 million to support high-speed internet access in rural communities for a total of $3.64 billion in rural development.
- Securing the Environment: Increases funding for the Environmental Protection Agency and National Park Service. The Water Infrastructure Financing Innovation Act (WIFIA) loan program is increased to support lending of $7.3 billion, $600 million more than fiscal year 2018.
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