At noon on Wednesday, one Texas congressman took to the floor of the United States House of Representatives to defy Democrat leadership and demand Congress address the humanitarian and national security crisis at the country’s southern border.
The House was considering a major funding bill when Republican Rep. Chip Roy (TX-21) and a small number of conservative members announced they would be requesting record votes on every amendment to the bill until the body moved to address the crisis at the border.
Roy outlined the measures Congress could take to do so in an op-ed with Fox News late Wednesday evening.
“We should act immediately in the following ways: fund President Trump’s $4.5 billion emergency supplemental spending request; end catch and release; ensure that parents and children are kept together in custody while their cases are pending; close all loopholes in our broken asylum system; and ensure unaccompanied illegal immigrant minors are quickly and safely returned home,” wrote Roy.
President Trump has asked Congress for $4.5 billion to help rein in the crisis, but thus far House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and other Democrat lawmakers, including Rep. Joaquin Castro (TX-20) who chairs the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, have fought measures to mitigate the problem at every turn.
In addition to the funding, the Trump administration and lawmakers seeking to fix the crisis at the border are working to reform the country’s asylum policies and make changes to the Flores Agreement. Flores was the court-sponsored agreement reached in 1997 following the Supreme Court’s decision in the case of Reno v. Flores four years earlier; the agreement is now used to shape law enforcement’s immigration detention policies, including that of unaccompanied minors.
The tactics resulted in the House working until 4:00 a.m. Thursday to have record votes on every amendment, which at one point on Wednesday totaled more than 100 pieces of legislation.
On Thursday, Roy told Texas Scorecard he intends to continue the tactics if necessary.
“For the past 24 hours, we have been requesting up or down votes on amendments to these spending packages,” Roy said. “Why? A) We should vote on legislation, which is what our constituents send us here to do. B) This body refuses to address the humanitarian crisis on our southern border. Speaker Pelosi should immediately put the $4.5 billion border supplemental on the floor for a vote, as well as a fix for Flores and catch and release.”
Roy took to Twitter afterward to describe the interactions he had with other members of Congress, some of whom criticized his choice of tactics. Those who accosted him complained the votes tied them to the House Floor and that they were missing fundraisers to cast votes on bills that would otherwise be passed by unanimous consent.
We’re not actually addressing the problem. And the American people sent us here to do that. Oh, no! We’re demanding votes. Heaven forbid this body votes. Heaven forbid we follow the constitution which, you know, says something about a quorum. #EndBorderCrisisNow #DoWhatWeSaid pic.twitter.com/GKciB47JeF
— Rep. Chip Roy (@RepChipRoy) June 13, 2019
First elected last year, Roy won in an open-seat election to succeed retiring Republican Rep. Lamar Smith, who held the seat for more than 30 years. The cancer survivor and longtime conservative advisor to Texas Republicans has, in his first year in Congress, made a name for himself by fighting the status quo in Washington on everything from transparency and accountability to border security and addressing the nation’s terrifying national debt—now totaling more than $23 trillion.
Roy made national headlines last month when he halted a massive spending bill by requesting members of Congress actually be in the U.S. Capitol to pass it, rather than from afar and with no debate.
Wednesday’s tactics, however, have continued to make him a political target for Democrats and their campaign arm, the Democrat Congressional Campaign Committee, which has its sights on growing their majority and taking back the White House in 2020 with Texas as a primary vehicle for doing so. The DCCC has six congressional seats listed as flippable districts for them next year, and Roy’s is prominently displayed atop the list.
In April, Texas Scorecard reported that abortion activist and feminist icon Wendy Davis was finished licking the wounds from her disastrous attempt at statewide office and was not-so-quietly mounting an attack on Roy to win the seat.
While Roy and conservatives continue to fight to stifle the record number of border crossings and return operational control of the border back to U.S. officials from the cartels, Democrats will presumably campaign on not giving any wins to President Trump—even if it means enabling the abuse and trafficking of women and children by coyotes and cartel members.