Rep. Gonzalez joins rebuke of president’s $8.6B request for border wall funds

U.S. Rep. Vicente Gonzalez, D-McAllen, is seen in this 2018 file photo speaking at the McAllen Country Club, and at the time filed legislation that would disallow airlines from bumping passengers off an overbooked flight if the passenger has already boarded.

Following remarks made by a fellow local lawmaker, U.S. Rep. Vicente Gonzalez, D-McAllen, issued a similar rebuke of the president’s proposal that requested nearly $9 billion in border security funds.

In a news release Tuesday, Gonzalez made clear his opposition to an $8.6 billion request from President Trump for the fiscal year 2020 spending budget that would help realize his campaign promise to build walls along the U.S.-Mexico border.

Gonzalez was direct, stating simply that he was against the president’s request and argued that more physical barriers are not a solution to border security.

“The word ‘no’ is a very simple concept,” Gonzalez said in the prepared statement. “You can use a dictionary to find the definition and a thesaurus to find synonyms. You know what you cannot use these resources for? Fortifying an argument that a physical barrier is a viable border security solution.”

He noted that recently departed White House Chief of Staff John Kelly characterized the president’s desire for a wall along the southwest border as “a waste of money.”

“For better border security options, the president is welcome to contact me or even former White House Chief of Staff John Kelly, who recently described the border wall as a waste of money,” the release stated. “For the time being, the only answer to the $8.6 billion budget request is quite simply: no.”

U.S. Rep. Henry Cuellar, D-Laredo, called the president’s proposal “fiscally irresponsible” on Monday, stating that more money should not go to an outdated border security solution such as a wall.

Cuellar, who recently secured language in a spending bill that — at least for now — has spared environmentally sensitive areas in the Rio Grande Valley, has come out against any new funds for border wall construction.

“President Trump’s request is simply short-sighted and fiscally irresponsible. Any budget that allocates billions toward a border wall is bad policy and an unacceptable waste of taxpayer dollars,” the congressman said in a prepared statement. “Congress has made it clear that it refuses to fund an unnecessary and expensive 14th century wall.

“The president’s insistence over this funding has already proven itself futile: It resulted in a government shutdown, which hurt hundreds of thousands of citizens across the country.”

The request comes as the president’s national emergency declaration rolls into the 30-day mark.

This new request could also potentially lead to another shutdown, as this spending bill proposal would have to be approved by Oct. 1, leaving the door open for contentious bargaining over how much of the nearly $9 billion lawmakers would be willing to approve for border barriers.