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The Republican Recap: Week of May 8, 2023

Here’s a recap of what Republicans achieved on the House Floor this week:

Ending Biden’s Border Crisis ✅
President Biden’s disastrous open border policies have encouraged the unprecedented surge of illegal immigrants and enabled drug traffickers to flood our streets with fentanyl – and that was before Title 42 ended. The border crisis is only going to get worse, with around 10,000 migrants expected to cross every day with Title 42 no longer in place.

As of this February, encounters at the southern border already surpassed one million for Fiscal Year 2023. Around 80 individuals on the terrorist watchlist have been stopped attempting to cross into the United States between southwest ports of entry since October 2022 – that we know of. In 2022, the DEA seized over 379 million deadly doses of fentanyl, but officials say CBP only seizes just 5% to 10% of illegal drugs smuggled across the southwest border. 

President Biden could fix the border crisis today by re-implementing the successful policies under President Trump, but he won’t. Thankfully, House Republicans are taking action and fulfilling our Commitment to America to secure our borders and keep our communities safe, bringing forward the strongest border bill ever.

H.R. 2, the Secure the Border Act of 2023, introduced by Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart, would fix our broken asylum system, hire more Border Patrol agents and provide them with resources they need, reinstate Trump-era policies like Remain in Mexico, and force the Biden Administration to resume building the border wall. 

“President Biden promised a more "humane and fair" immigration policy, but there is nothing humane about the nearly 900 individuals who died last year making their way into the United States. There is nothing humane about the 300 Americans who die daily from fentanyl poisoning. There is nothing humane about the women and children abused, raped, and killed by cartels. There is nothing humane about unaccompanied minors being exploited and ending up in some of the most punishing jobs in the country. The Secure the Border Act provides real solutions to restore order at the Southwest border, strengthen our national security, enhance our broken immigration system, and protect innocent minors– all while upholding the rule of law. Since the Biden Administration has lacked the leadership to uphold our national security, I am proud to lead this effort in the House and deliver on House Republicans' commitment to America,” said Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart.

What Members Said:

House GOP Leadership issued the following statement on the passage of H.R. 2, the Secure the Border Act of 2023:

“[President Biden and Secretary Mayorkas] are derelict in their duty because they have opened up the border to the tune of over five million people that have come into our country. That's more than my home state of Louisiana that have come into our country illegally just in the last two years that Joe Biden has been President. We've asked, ‘Where are they going? ‘Where are they housing them? Are the kids going to school?’ They don't know. In fact, the New York Times just reported that the Biden Administration lost track of 85,000 young kids who have come into our country illegally. How do you lose 85,000 young kids and then say you don't have a problem? And you won't work with Republicans to fix it. The President actually issued a veto threat on this bill," said Majority Leader Steve Scalise.

“House Republicans are not going to sit on the sidelines. We brought a bill to the Floor that everybody should vote for. Again, get back to rule of law. Give our Border Patrol agents the tools they need, so that somebody actually has an asylum claim, [then] they can come and seek asylum and the legal way. You want to come to America? We're the most generous nation in the world. Legal immigration works. When you open up the border, and bring five million people in two years, it undermines the entire legal system and it breaks down communities – not just at the border, [but] all across America.”

Click here or on the image above to view Leader Scalise’s remarks.

“My parents came to this country as immigrants. So many of my constituents came to this country as immigrants. I think fundamentally Republicans and Democrats agree that we are a nation of immigrants. Yet what we are seeing currently at our southern border is a travesty. It is not helpful to the migrants, it is not helpful to our nation, and it has certainly created so many problems that we are facing right now. We have seen over 5 million illegal crossings at the southern border, another 1.3 million gotaways. CBP has seized 14,000 pounds of fentanyl at our southern border – enough to kill over 3.1 billion people. In 2021, more than 71,000 individuals died from synthetic opioid overdoses, and this is roughly 200 people every day," said Rep. Nicole Malliotakis. “We can say that we want to support immigration but it must be legal immigration. This is completely unsustainable. It is dangerous.”

Click here or on the image above to view Rep. Malliotakis' remarks.

Rep. Mike Garcia slammed President Biden for refusing to act on the border crisis and playing politics with our national security. 

Rep. Alex Mooney highlighted how H.R. 2 is the strongest border security bill in our nation's history.

Rep. Kay Granger emphasized the importance of repairing our broken immigration system. 
Rep. Keith Self pointed out the severity of the surge at the border under President Biden.


Recovering Fraudulent Payments and Protecting American Taxpayers ✅
During the COVID-19 pandemic, American families suffered while criminal organizations and foreign fraudsters stole hundreds of billions of dollars in unemployment insurance payments, leaving taxpayers on the hook for up to $400 billion in fraudulent payments. 

Instead of looking for solutions to recover those funds that should have gone to Americans in need, Democrats just wanted to continue to spend more money, rejecting reforms that would have protected taxpayers and making the covid funds even more vulnerable to fraud.

We owe it to American taxpayers to do everything in our power to recover these funds and bring the criminals who defrauded the American people to justice. 

H.R. 1163, the Protecting Taxpayers and Victims of Unemployment Fraud Act, sponsored by Ways and Means Committee Chairman Jason Smith, protects taxpayers by incentivizing states to recover fraudulent payments, improving program integrity to prevent future fraud, and extending the statute of limitations for prosecuting fraud.

“On their watch, Democrats routinely ignored their oversight responsibilities and failed to look into the largest theft of tax dollars in American history. Now, Republicans are following through on our promise to provide solutions to help recover stolen taxpayer funds and prevent these abuses in the future. The Protecting Taxpayers and Victims of Unemployment Fraud Act takes much needed, overdue action to recoup fraudulently claimed unemployment benefits, prevent future fraud, and hold accountable the criminals who stole hundreds of billions from American families. Since this bill includes some of the same solutions President Biden included in his recent budget request to Congress – as well as past budgets from Presidents Trump and Obama – Democrats should be standing with Republicans in gaining restitution for taxpayers and those targeted by criminals,said Ways and Means Committee Chairman Jason Smith.  

What Members Said:

“This bill makes meaningful strides to recover hundreds of billions of dollars in fraudulent unemployment benefits. Congress has the responsibility to oversee our nation's unemployment programs and rein in rampant fraud. Unfortunately, for years, Democrats virtually refused to acknowledge the extent of this issue, while taxpayers and small businesses in New York's 24th district were forced to foot the bill. Criminal organizations including international cybercrime rings and other foreign actors even exploited this national crisis to steal billions from taxpayers,” said Rep. Claudia Tenney. “After all the hardships they've endured over the past several years, how can it possibly be fair to ask them to pick up the tab for the government's negligence and incompetence? Now, under House Republicans and the leadership of Jason Smith, Congress is finally taking steps to recover these valuable taxpayer dollars.”

Click here or on the image above to view Rep. Tenney's remarks.

Rep. Brad Wenstrup highlighted the importance of recovering the funds stolen from American taxpayers through unemployment fraud.