Cuellar on Being the Only House Dem to Vote for Border Security Bill
In his first TV interview since the House passed a $694 million supplemental appropriations bill to fund border enforcement, a Blue Dog Democrat who upset the White Hose because of his criticisms of Obama said the legislation -- far less than the amount requested by the president -- was the right thing to do.
Rep. Henry Cuellar (D-Texas) told Fox that he wished he wasn't the only Democrat in the "yea" column in the 223-189 vote. Four Republicans voted "no."
"I can't speak for the other colleagues, but this is the right thing to do. You know, we needed to put resources down there at the border crisis, and we needed a policy change, and this is a policy change where even the president of the United States on a June 30th letter that he sent off to Congress where he personally said we needed to do this policy change and unfortunately, he changed his mind but I thought it was still the right thing to do," Cuellar said. "That is why I voted with some of my colleagues, but I wish it would have been more of bipartisan vote."
Arizona Dem Rep. Ron Barber, who has also been critical of the Obama administration's inaction on the border, said in a statement that he voted against the bill because of the "martial law" manner in which it was brought to the floor -- without the expected day to study the bill before voting.
“I had hopes that House leaders would address this serious border crisis by acting to secure our border and to deal with the humanitarian needs of those who have come here. But that did not happen,” Barber said. “Instead we were presented with proposals that fail to address any of these problems in a meaningful way.”
Cuellar told Fox that he didn't know if Obama was moving toward an executive action of some sort on immigration reform.
"I do know that living at the border and having worked in this district for quite a while, we needed to add some resources and we needed to have a policy change. And doing nothing, and just saying, you know, I'm going to put a veto over this, is not the right way to doing the work," the congressman said.
"We need to do something, now. As you can see, Homeland is going to start shifting money away, which is something that I said was going to happen since we were not able to pass a bipartisan funding supplemental bill with a policy change."
The Democratic-controlled Senate quickly blocked the House border bill before leaving for the five-week August recess.