Not sure if every constituent of Minnesota’s First District has signed up for Brad Finstad’s weekly update, but they provide a great insight into his views of the issues.
Take for example, Congressman Finstad’s December 27 edition in which he explained his opposition to the bipartisan Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2023. Congressman Finstad ignores that it funds programs in the First District (i.e. $2,608,000 funding for the Luverne MN Childcare Center) and USDA and agricultural programs. veterans programs as well as Department of Defense.
Congressman Finstad is angry because the House Rules Committee did not allow a vote on his amendment “preventing the Customs and Border Patrol operations and support budget from going towards hiring permanent employees” ( Bolding for emphasis). What Congressman Finstad did not mention is that every amendment – Democrat, Bipartisan and Republican – was not accepted … depriving Tom Emmer and Michelle Fischbach a chance once again to vote against 20,000 Delphi workers (HR 6929) which the House had passed but Republican Senators blocked a final vote in August. A vote to change the omnibus bill would have forced the Senate to vote again … so every amendment would have essentially created an opportunity to let the government to not be funded.
Congressman Finstad writes “Included in the final bill was a $410 million allocation for five Middle Eastern countries to use for enhanced border security; yet, the bill expressly restricts U.S. Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) from using any funds to hire border agents or for border security technology and capabilities. It makes very little sense that this massive spending package would allocate millions of U.S. taxpayer dollars for border security efforts in countries like Lebanon and Egypt, while simultaneously denying the same resources to Customs and Border Patrol ...”
Congressman Finstad did not identify all five countries but they are Jordan, Lebanon, Egypt, Tunisia, and Oman. So, one of the first questions to ask is : Why these five countries ? Simple answer … because the program has been going on for years and is not complete yet. Second question is : What funding did the Trump Administration provide ? Simple answer … President Trump, with Congressional approval, appropriated $500 million under the segment for the Defense Security Cooperation Agency in ‘‘Operation and Maintenance, Defense-Wide”. Third question : What rational is there for encouraging these countries to focus on border security ? Simple answer … terrorist groups including Hizballah, ISIS, Hamas, and the Abdullah Azzam Brigades all would want open borders. Fourth question : Do other countries also get assistance that Congressman Finstad has not mentioned ? Simple answer …. YES …. for example, $3.3 Billion security assistance to Israel and extends loan guarantees to until fiscal year 2028.
Now, the big question : Why is Congressman Finstad’s Weekly Update using different wording than the actual amendment he offered — note the word “permanent” ? That is most concerning … is Congressman misleading First District voters that there will be no new Border Control employees ? Border Patrol is in line for a whopping 17% funding boost ($16.7 billion for CBP, $1.8
billion above the fiscal year 2022 enacted level), which includes the funding for new Border Patrol agents ($60 million for 125 new CBP officers, 250 technicians and 250 support staff) that the Biden administration had repeatedly stressed as necessary to handle the record-high numbers of migrants crossing the U.S.-Mexico border. If Border Patrol is unable to meet the hiring goal, it can use the funds on other efforts to boost morale (such as CBP did in November when they announced a program featuring a $10,000 signing bonus plus another $10,000 bonus after completing two years.) Last year, the Biden Administration did increase the number of CBP personnel by 691 positions including 625 permanent employees. To imply that the Biden Administration is doing nothing is disingenuous … and hiring “permanent” government employees is something that Republicans usually object to … especially since many would join the National Treasury Employees Union. Regarding the “border security technology and capabilities” claim, the legislation provides $230.2 million for border technology; and $69.9 million for non-intrusive inspection systems.
It would be appropriate to debate whether these new positions should be permanent, but that can be done when the Republicans control the House and craft their own budget … which could including adding an estimated 3,436 full-time CPB agents by FY2025 as stated in Tom Emmer’s sponsored HR 4828 – Border Security for America Act of 2021 … which Congressman Finstad has NOT sponsored.
Congressman Finstad campaigned on opposing the Biden Agenda … but at least he should honestly report it … didn’t ya think “Alternative Facts” ended with the defeat of Donald Trump ?