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tv   Democrats Speak to Reporters After Homeland Security Conference  CSPAN  February 3, 2019 4:52pm-5:10pm EST

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>> that is everybody. good afternoon. today was a starting point. i am pleased that it seems like the members and senators are ready to work in a constructive way. i want to echo my colleagues -- we must not have another government shutdown. so, we will work thoughtfully and quickly to produce a compromise that the american people can be proud of. a finished product will include a good homeland security bill. the other six outstanding appropriations bills, and an
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emergency disaster supplemental bill. house democrats have already included $1.6 billion for border security, related programs in the six outstanding appropriation bills. as we negotiate homeland security, we will expand on that amount. we will do so in a smart and effective way. for more on that, i would like to yield to my colleague, lucille, a distinguished member of the home and security committee. she will provide more details on where democrats will begin on negotiations. >> first of all, let me just say that i was very pleased by the meeting we just had. i think what it reflects is that we as republicans and democrats, in both houses, have more agreement than disagreement.
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that's a very strong starting point for us. i am very pleased that we have been able to begin that work on our spending bill for the department of homeland security. within the limited funding available in the bill, we are going to be fighting for a balanced investment across the department of mission areas. we will be pushing for a strong, but smart, border security posture, and one that does not rely on costly physical barriers. i would just like to highlight some of the priorities that house democrats will be bringing to the negotiating table. our proposal provides funding for 1000 new custom officers, new imaging technology at the ports of entry to ensure that all the vehicles are scanned before entering our country for
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drugs and other contraband, new equipment at mail processing facilities to contradict fentanyl another opioids shipped through the international mail. new cutting-edge technology along the border to improve situational awareness and an expansion of air and marine operations along the border, and u.s. waters. there's also an expansion of risk-based targeting of passengers and cargo entering the united states, and critical repair projects at ports of entry. the proposal also includes funding to address the only real crisis that is at the border -- not a border security crisis, but a humanitarian one. by improving the capacity to
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appropriately make the needs of migrants who are temporarily in their custody. it supports the hiring of new investigation agents to focus on drug smuggling, gang crime, financial crime, and other high-priority law enforcement areas. it includes funding to expand alternatives to the tension programs, including family case management. and, correspondingly, it significantly reduces ice the tension beds and requires more frequent the tension facility inspections, which currently is once every three years. we expending it so that it is twice a year. it limits ice's ability to use more detention beds can be funded. the proposal supports many other homeland security priorities, which we will not have the
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funding to address if the president insists that we set aside $5.7 billion for border barriers. these include for example, targeted increases and fema preparedness grant programs, not invest and support for the coast guard, personnel and air and marine fleet, including a new polar icebreaker, which is absolutely critical because we are extremely vulnerable right now in the arctic, where at times, there's absolutely no u.s. presence, where russia and china are coming into that area to claim waterways and to claim beach resources in that area. also, we could not provide investments in tsa's ability to detect threats at security checkpoints without slowing air travel. democrats support homeland security, including border security that is smart, effective, and consistent with our core values as americans. i really do look forward to working with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle, in both houses, to reach an agreement without the threat of another
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government shutdown. >> thank you very much. we will be taking questions and then any of my colleagues can respond. yes? reporter: what you are outlining here -- >> i don't think we have outlined a price tag of $5.7 billion. we are going into a conference, and you heard our priorities. i thought the senators were particularly effective in their desire to work closely with us. this is what this conference is all about. we are going to be evaluating all the facts. in addition, will be talking to as many experts as we feel necessary, then we will resolve
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the money. reporter: what is the cost of you have heard a lot of proposals here today. i cannot give you the totals right now. >> kim and take -- give-and-take, the physical barrier is nonnegotiable? we're going --t, i hope to be a very successful conference. we will discuss with democrats, republicans, the experts, what is most effective. at this point, i will not give an answer to that question. is there any money in your proposal for new or repaired physical barriers of any kind? >> i don't think i will answer
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that today. as you heard, this is wednesday. we have a short timeline. we will have a real intense negotiation period. we will bring in additional experts. unless my other colleagues have any response, i'm not going to give you the conclusion. we are going into this conference and are open to everyone's facts and figures. we are going to be talking about facts. >> is there any money at the starting point? >> everything is on the table. >> if you're asking if there's any money for the border wall, no, there is not. deal are less a than 50-50. say that ilike to
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thought this conference was very effective, very cooperative, whether i'm talking about a democrat or republican. we intend to work together. if the hope that president was going to contribute, it could be a constructive way and not eliminate or come to any conclusions. and youboth privately, heard the comments at the conference from democrats and republicans who want to work to solve these problems. of these scope negotiations, are other immigration divisions part of this conversation? is there an understanding that this is just the matter of funding? >> it's a matter of order security at this moment.
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>> have you heard anything from your republican colleagues? that theytimistic will move away from it. --? attended this all conference briefing. of mycted from all colleagues in the senate and the republican,rat and a commitment to work as hard as we can to get a good agreement. the president was not here today. we heard from democrats, republicans, house and senate about the real commitment to try to resolve this issue. we have a very short timeline. i am cautiously optimistic that the members here of this committee are sincere about facts and figures to resolve this issue and do it as
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expeditiously as possible. republicans talking about specifically what is needed at the border. is it something you are willing to entertain? will all of these be open? attended, chairwoman warble allard has provided -- presided, many of my colleagues have joined her at many briefings from the experts. at this moment, we have a limited timeframe. we have been talking about maybe taking a trip to the border. there is not much time. we want to get this done. we want to be productive. we are cautiously optimistic that we can get a good bipartisan proposal. of the senators
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today. they were very focused and determined to resolve this challenge. reporter: [inaudible] [laughter] >> i think it is also important to remember that we are dealing with the 2019 funding bill, for which we had hearings, we had ice before our committee. we had all the agencies that fall under the department of homeland security, the key ones. they all came and testified and told us what they need. we had several meetings last . meeting with them to find out exactly what their needs were. we are not writing the 2020 bill. i think that is important to understand with these unusual circumstances.
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the shutdown of the government. we had a very limited time to deal with, or finished the 2019 so we could begin the whole process of the 2020, where we will have the public hearings and bring in all the relevant agencies to testify as to what their needs are as we go forward. yes? >> regarding the icebreaker, does your proposal intends to match or push up the $750 million already approved by the senate? >> in that amount of money, it is my understanding that they have determined that may not be the figure they need. we are going to use whatever the latest estimate is that they give us. my understanding is that figure is no longer valid. reporter: has the coast guard indicated that a few appropriate that amount, they can still remain on schedule with the
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icebreaker program and award a contract by this year? >> i believe they still can, yes. >> yes? reporter: jefferies said yesterday during a press conference that democrats would support additional funding where there was evidence for it. does that not fall into this position of not relying on physical barriers? >> all i would say is, and you gave his quote accurately, what he said is exactly what the speaker said, that we want to follow the facts. but what we can't do is arbitrarily pick a number for a border wall that we do not feel is effective and allocate funding for that. let's follow the facts. let's talk to the experts.
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if there are future requests, we will talk to more experts. what we don't want to do is arbitrarily make decisions that compromise other priorities, like icebreakers, like other ports of entry. we should be thinking about, if we have one dollar to invest, what is the most effective way we can spend that to protect our borders? >> i think it is important to remind those gathered that before the government shutdown, we passed six bills that had been approved by the senate, and we had proposed 30 days to focus with intensity on homeland security and the government shutdown. i think we all understand how serious the problem of border security is, and we have been interacting with experts -- and at the time, we proposed 30 days to have additional hearings,
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additional discussions, and certainly in the homeland security committee, we have been working on this for the past year. that is an important point. it is not as if we are just discussing this issue. as my colleague said, we have been working on this for the past year. i have had my roller skates on, going from hearing to hearing to hearing. we brought in experts. lucille roybal-allard is so well informed on this issue because this is her job, and she has been approaching it, as all my colleagues have, with a determination to find out the best way forward. why don't we just take one more question? how many do we have time for? yes. reporter: trump said last week that if there is no deal in three weeks, there could be another shutdown or he could declare an emergency. how much leverage does that give him over you?
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rep. lowey: i won't comment on that. that is no way to run the government. all the members who participated i thought really have facts and determination to solve the problem. i raised three children. i now have eight grandchildren. i think it is best dealing with them with facts and figures rather than threats. thank you very much. reporter: to be clear, you say there is no money being stored. is it for barriers or for a wall? [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2019] [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which es


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