In a letter to the House Armed Service Committee, Rep. Andy Biggs, R-Ariz., urged the committee to not include provisions that would prevent security measures at the southern border, like deploying members of the armed services, from this fiscal year’s defense act.
Biggs referenced three measures that were included in the House’s draft of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2020 that he believes would have impeded on the Department of Defense’s (DOD) ability to safeguard the southern border.
The measures included barring service members from being sent to assist with Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officials, as well as prohibiting DOD counterdrug programs and military construction funds to be used to help build the wall along the southern border.
These measures did not make it to the final NDAA for fiscal year 2020.
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“The NDAA is generally a bipartisan piece of legislation,” Biggs told Fox News. “However, last year the Democrat-led House passed a partisan bill that included provisions that would have emasculated our security operations on our southern border.”
Twenty-two other GOP members of the House signed the letter that was sent to Armed Service Committee Chairman Adam Smith, D-Wash., and Ranking Member Mac Thornberry, R-Texas.
The Republican lawmakers stated that building a wall was crucial in managing the “humanitarian and security crisis” at the southern border.
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Building a wall along the southern border was a key component of President Trump’s campaign, and has been a continuous talking point throughout his presidency.
Though recently the wall has not been a subject of conversation, reports last month revealed that a section of the wall was being painted black, based on the president’s previous suggestion that it would further deter illegal immigration.
According to local reporting, the CBP is testing a “coal tar epoxy” on a 450-foot section of the wall in Arizona, to see if the paint has a functional use, like protecting the steel.
GOP House signatories of the letter said the construction of the wall would “deter the drug cartels and the tens of thousands of people who risk their lives attempting to cross the border illegally.”
“It is my hope that Democrats will put aside their disdain for President Trump’s agenda and work with us to produce legislation for the annual NDAA that will keep our border secure and our nation safe,” Biggs told Fox News Thursday.
Reps. Smith and Thornberry could not be immediately reached for comment.