08.15.19

Senators Schumer And Leahy Call On President Trump To Fully Withdraw $5 Billion Budget Request For Expensive, Ineffective Border Wall, Instead Use Requested Funds For Other Pressing Needs, Such As Proven Initiatives To Address Threat Of Gun Violence And White Supremacist Extremism

Senators Schumer And Leahy Send Letter To President Trump Requesting That He Fully Withdraw His DHS Budget Request For Border Wall Funding And Instead Use Requested Funds, In Part, To Address The Threat Of Gun Violence And White Supremacist Extremism In America

The Senators’ Letter Comes Amid Continued Calls From The American People For Greater Investment In Addressing Threat Of Gun Violence And Follows FBI Director Wray’s Call For More Resources To Protect Americans From Rising Threat Of Domestic Terrorism

Senators Schumer And Leahy To President Trump: Fully Withdraw Budget Request For Ineffective Border Wall, Instead Use Requested Funds For Other Pressing Needs, Such As Proven Initiatives To Address Gun Violence Epidemic

Washington, D.C.— On the heels of separate mass shootings in El Paso, Texas and Dayton, Ohio, Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and Vice Chairman of the Senate Committee on Appropriations Patrick Leahy (D-VT) today sent a letter to President Trump urging him to fully withdraw his Department of Homeland Security budget request for $5 billion to pay for an expensive, ineffective border wall, and instead use the requested funds to address other pressing issues, such as the gun violence epidemic and violent white supremacist extremism. The letter comes amid continued calls from the American people for greater investment in efforts to address the gun violence epidemic, and follows FBI Director Christopher Wray’s recent Congressional testimony, where he informed members of Congress that more resources are needed to protect Americans from the rising threat of domestic terror posed by white nationalists.

In the letter, the Senators call on President Trump to fully withdraw his $5 billion budget request, noting that they will continue to push Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to put the House-passed bipartisan universal background checks legislation on the Senate floor for a vote, immediately.

The Senators request that President Trump instead support spending the requested funds, in part, on proven initiatives that will address the threats of gun violence and white supremacist extremism in America, such as counter-violent extremism programs within the Department of Homeland Security, domestic terrorism investigations at the FBI, gun violence research at the Centers for Disease Control, and support services in schools and communities, such as school counselors.

Senators Schumer and Leahy note that President Trump’s border wall funding request is essentially identical to the request that thrust the country into the longest shutdown in American history and was rejected by a Republican-controlled Congress last year, and emphasize that there are more effective methods of securing our border, such as through the use of technology, appropriately trained personnel, and modern infrastructure. The Senators urge the president to pursue effective solutions to the problems of gun violence and white supremacist extremism, starting with the fiscal year 2020 Appropriations process. 

Senators Schumer and Leahy’s letter to President Trump can be found here and below:

Mr. President:

The dual scourges of gun violence and white supremacist extremism are a public health, law enforcement and national security crisis in America. Doctors, police chiefs and public health experts have long urged the federal government to invest in sound research to inform effective solutions to our nation’s gun violence epidemic. In addition, just last week, the director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation informed members of Congress that more resources are needed to protect Americans from the rising threat of domestic terror posed by white nationalists. Nowhere in our country should our people have to live through what El Paso, Dayton and countless other communities have experienced. The American people demand and deserve action.

Therefore, in addition to continuing to urge Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to put the House-passed bipartisan universal background checks legislation on the Senate floor for a vote immediately, we write to urge that you fully withdraw your budget request within the Department of Homeland Security for $5 billion for an ineffective border wall. As you know, the Congress has come together in a bipartisan fashion to fund other, more effective methods of securing our border through the use of technology, appropriately trained personnel and modern infrastructure. Instead, we urge you to support spending funds you have requested for the border wall, on other pressing needs such as proven initiatives that will address the threats of gun violence and white supremacist extremism in America. Specifically, we ask you to consider supporting counter-violent extremism programs, domestic terrorism investigations at the FBI, gun violence research at the Centers for Disease Control and support services in schools and communities, such as school counselors.

We note that your request for border wall funding is essentially identical to the request that a Republican-controlled Congress rejected last year and resulted in the longest shutdown in American history. You did not have the support in Congress for an expensive and ineffective border wall then and you do not have it now. Instead, we urge you to unite the country and the Congress behind effective solutions to the problems of gun violence and white supremacist extremism, starting with the fiscal year 2020 Appropriations process. 

We are willing to work in a bipartisan fashion to achieve meaningful reforms to address the crises of gun violence and white supremacist extremism in America. This funding is not a substitute for passing the House-passed bipartisan universal background checks legislation, but it is a meaningful component of our national effort to protect the safety of our citizens.

We look forward to your immediate response to this letter.

Sincerely, 

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