Lawler: Biden admin’s statement on GOP, border is ‘beneath’ White House 

January 3, 2024

The Hill
By Miranda Nazzaro

Rep. Mike Lawler (R-N.Y.) railed against the White House’s criticism of Republicans’ handling of the border situation, calling the remarks a “joke” and “beneath” the White House.

White House spokesperson Andrew Bates on Wednesday accused Republicans of exacerbating the crisis at the southern border ahead of a group of House Republicans’ trip to the southern border, led by House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.).

Asked about Bates’s comments on NewsNation’s “The Hill,” Lawler said, “That’s such a joke and, frankly, beneath the White House to put out a statement like that.”

“The reality is this — House Republicans are the only ones that have done anything on border security this year,” Lawler continued. “We passed H.R. 2 seven months ago, the strongest border security measure in the history of Congress.”

The H.R. 2 Secure the Border bill is a sweeping package passed by House Republicans in May. The package included limits to asylum protections, provisions to resume construction of the border wall, and an expansion of the qualifications for refugee status, among other changes.

“So the failure here is on the part of the administration, whose policies have exacerbated the crisis,” Lawler said, adding later, “This is a crisis of their own making. And it is a dereliction of duty on the part of [President] Joe Biden, [Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro] Mayorkas and frankly, [Democratic New York Sen.] Chuck Schumer, as the majority leader.”

Earlier Wednesday, Bates on behalf of the White House took a dig at House Republicans, arguing the conference has an “anti-border security record” after they obstructed Biden’s border proposals and voted against border security funding. He pointed to the GOP’s lack of support for Biden’s supplemental funding request — which included new border security funds and funding for Ukraine, Israel and the Indo-Pacific — and the president’s plans to modernize the immigration system.

Lawler was among a delegation of about 60 Republicans who visited the southern border near Eagle Pass, Texas, on Wednesday, to address their concerns over the influx of migrants at the border.

Lawler said the lawmakers witnessed migrants crossing the border and spoke with Customs and Border Patrol agents about the numbers behind the crossings.

Senators and the White House have negotiated for weeks over a deal for border security changes that would also unlock funding for Ukraine.

“So this is a real crisis that needs to be addressed, and the administration needs to take it seriously and the negations have to be in good faith,” Lawler said, adding the Senate negotiations are “seemingly halfhearted and mealy-mouthed at best.”

The White House did not immediately respond to The Hill’s request for comment.

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