Bill to Assure Adequate Funding for Border Security Agents
Mr. Speaker, I rise today to introduce a simple, straightforward bill to ensure that as the architects of the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004, we keep our promises regarding border security to the American people, the 9/11 Families who fought so tirelessly for passage of that legislation, and the members of the 9/11 Commission.
By architects, I am referring to Members of the House and Senate--both Democrat and Republican--who fought for Intel Reform and voted overwhelmingly to see that bill become law. I am also referring to the President, who signed that legislation into law on December 17, 2004.
Border security is not some esoteric term of art created by a bunch of lawyers writing complicated pieces of legislation that laymen will never understand. Border security means exactly what it says: secure our borders to prevent those who should not enter America from entering America. We wrote a good piece of legislation that prescribed additional funding for what we all agreed was needed--additional border security agents to implement our border security plan. We can write all the laws we want, but without boots on the ground in the place where we need them the most we cannot win the battle. This is as true in border security as it is in war.
I commend my colleagues on both sides of the aisle for passing Intel Reform last Congress. It was a tiresome fight well worth the result. It was not perfect, but the legislation signed into law by President Bush took a great leap forward to protect our American families and communities.
That bill included a provision to add 2,000 border security agents every year for five years beginning in 2006. In order for that to happen, the President would need to budget for 2,000 additional agents in the budget he submitted this week to Congress and Congress would need to appropriate that money to the Department of Homeland Security. Only two months after signing Intel Reform into law, this Administration has budgeted for only 10 percent of the border security agents we agreed were necessary.
I am introducing this bill to ensure that this legislative body keeps its word to the American people to provide 100 percent of the border security protection we decreed to be necessary. I urge House and Senate leadership to bring this bill to the floor immediately to rectify this discrepancy. I urge my colleagues to join me in funding this important priority and putting the boots on the ground where we said we need them to ensure our borders are secure.
Reference: H.R. 780