57 House Republicans demand debt limit talks include crackdown on illegal immigrants

Nearly five dozen conservative Republican lawmakers are demanding that border security be part of any deal struck to raise the debt ceiling, calling the House GOP’s recently passed bill on the issue a “starting point” for such talks.

The note, led by Republican Study Committee Chair Kevin Hern, R-Okla., also accused President Biden and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., of a “dereliction of duty” when it comes to the border.

The 57 GOP lawmakers argued “the security of our border is inextricably linked to the fiscal security of our nation.”

“As we speak, the United States is experiencing a rapidly worsening border crisis and barreling toward a debt limit crisis,” read the Republican Study Committee letter sent to President Biden and congressional leaders on Thursday. “Let’s be very clear, these crises are a direct product of the failed policies and neglect of President Biden and Congressional Democrats. We believe each of these issues should be considered together during your current debt limit negotiations.”

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“American taxpayers should not be forced to foot the bill for the rapidly growing illegal immigration crisis,” the GOP lawmakers wrote. 

“H.R. 2, the Secure the Border Act should logically serve as the starting point for considering sound border security measures. This legislation would close immigration loopholes, restart construction of the wall, and provide law enforcement the resources they desperately need.”

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They also called on debt limit negotiators to go a step further and consider additional measures to keep federal funding from helping illegal immigrants, such as specific exclusions from federal benefits and cutting off funding to sanctuary cities.

“Negotiators should also consider other common-sense policies, such as ensuring taxpayer funded welfare programs and tax credits are not available to illegal immigrants, restoring the Trump Administration’s public charge rule, and preventing relevant federal funding from flowing to sanctuary cities that harbor illegal aliens, among others,” the letter read. 

The GOP’s Limit, Save, Grow Act, which narrowly passed the House last month, would cut about $150 billion in discretionary spending from this year to the next while also raising the debt limit by $1.5 trillion.

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High-level staff meetings are being held between officials at the White House and aides for House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif. 

But in public, Democrats are still hammering the GOP over their debt limit bill, which the left has repeatedly said would result in significant job losses and undercut vital agencies’ ability to function. Republicans are already rebranding the possible looming financial crisis as a “Biden default,” preemptively shoving blame onto the president and his party for failing to negotiate at all on their spending cut demands.

The Republican Study Committee’s demand is a long shot, with Democrats finding the GOP’s debt limit bill hard to swallow as-is. But it underscores just how far apart both sides are ideologically despite having less than a month to hash things out. 

The two parties are facing a deadline for a debt ceiling deal of sometime after June 1, which is when the Treasury Department estimates that the government will no longer be able to pay for current spending obligations without more borrowing. Biden and his allies in Congress have said Congress should raise the debt ceiling immediately, while Republicans have said they can only support this increase if it is paired with spending reductions.

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