Ohio delegation reacts to border issues

Published 1:20 pm Sunday, February 17, 2019

Another government shutdown averted

WASHINGTON — Members of Ohio’s delegation to Congress reacted this week to news of a bipartisan appropriations measure to avert another government shutdown, as well as President Donald Trump’s declaration of a national emergency to secure funding for a proposed wall on the U.S.-Mexico border.

U.S. Rep. Bill Johnson, R-Ohio, said the appropriations legislation “isn’t perfect – far from it – but, it moves the ball forward on addressing the national security crisis at our southern border while avoiding a second partial government shutdown.”

“This bill also provides the Department of Homeland Security and our ICE agents with the critical flexibility needed to ensure illegal immigrant felons remain detained. I voted yes,” Jonson said in a news release. “Every single mile of a wall, fence, or barrier (whatever term you prefer) that goes up increases our border security.”

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On Trump’s declaration of an emergency, Johnson said he backed the move.

“As I have previously said, I support declaring a national emergency on the southern border – because there is a national security crisis there – and, I will continue to strongly back the President’s effort to secure the border and reform our broken immigration system,” Johnson said.

U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, spoke in opposition to the declaration.

“The President’s decision to take funding away from our military to support his vanity project is reckless and irresponsible,” Brown said in a news release. “The President continues to hurt the people who make this country work by wasting time and standing in the way of important work like protecting pensions for millions of workers and retirees, bringing down the cost of prescription drugs, or rewriting the tax code to put people first.”

Brown said the president should focus on other priorities.

“Instead of building a wall, we should be passing a bill to provide back pay for the contract workers the President hurt with his shutdown,” the senator said.

Brown’s office also pointed to the appropriations bill, noting that it included several funding measures they said the senator had fought for, including federal highway funds, anti-drug enforcement funding, Great Lakes restoration funding and manufacturing investments.

U.S. Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, said he voted for the bipartisan funding agreement to strengthen border security and avoid another government shutdown:

“I am pleased that President Trump will sign this bipartisan funding agreement into law,” Portman said in a news release. “I supported this bill because it takes important steps in the right direction on border security and because it avoids another government shutdown.”

Portman said Trump “has a responsible plan to strengthen our border security.”

“This agreement includes nearly $1.4 billion for new barriers and fencing, which will result in another 55 miles of new barriers along the border where it is needed most, according to the experts,” Portman said.

Portman said he preferred a legislative plan on the border, rather than a declaration of an emergency.

“I agree with the president that we have a crisis on our southern border and that we need additional barriers and fencing,” Portman said. “As I have said before, I would prefer we work together to find a legislative solution instead of declaring a national emergency that will likely be tied up in the courts.”