Hoyer: Republican Fence Bill is Another Cynical Charade

For Immediate Release:

September 14, 2006

Contact:Rep. Steny H. Hoyer

WASHINGTON, DC - House Democratic Whip Steny H. Hoyer (MD) made the following statement today on the House floor:

 "Mr. Speaker, every single member of this House understands that we must secure our nation's borders. Our nation is at war, and those who seek to harm our homeland and our people will attempt to exploit our national security vulnerabilities. There is no question: To protect our country, we must know who is within our borders.

 "But rather than work with Democrats to achieve this consensus national security objective, the House Republican Majority today is engaging in a cynical charade that is designed to do one thing: score a cheap political point that can be demagogued in a 30-second campaign ad.

 "The legislation before us solely contains the border fence provisions that were added to the Sensenbrenner immigration reform bill that passed this House last December with overwhelming Republican support.  Let me just say, building a fence along 700 miles of our southern border is no panacea to our very real national security concerns. In my view, it's simply political grandstanding that wastes precious time.

 "Here in fact is what the President of the United States said in May regarding the issue of immigration reform and border security: 'An immigration reform bill needs to be comprehensive, because all elements of this problem must be addressed together, or none of them will be solved at all.'

 "Yet today, House Republicans come forward with this rifle-shot bill, which has been rushed to the Floor. Mr. Speaker, we all know that this Republican bill - if it does pass - is going nowhere. For months now, Republican infighting has prevented this Congress from enacting true immigration reform.  And, that infighting and unwillingness to compromise on the part of House Republicans is what instigated this narrow bill today.

 "Our Republican friends are desperate for a legislative victory, and desperate for a political talking point.  They recognize that, as Senator Specter, the Chairman of the Judiciary Committee, recently said: 'Republicans control both Houses and the White House.  If we don't move toward solving it [immigration reform and border security], we're not doing our job.'

 "Today, once again, you're not doing your job. We should be coming together, on a bipartisan basis, on comprehensive legislation that would make us safer by beefing up security along our borders. That is precisely what the Reyes-Thompson substitute would do - providing the technology, personnel, equipment and infrastructure to monitor and secure every mile of the border every hour of every day.

"Instead, House Republicans are engaging in this charade."

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