FACT CHECK: Did ‘Every Senate Democrat’ Vote In 2013 For $46 Billion In Border Security Funding?

Aryssa Damron | Fact Check Reporter

A meme posted on the “Rowdy Republican” Facebook page, which has around three-quarters of a million followers, claimed Dec. 30 that “every Senate Democrat voted to suppport [sic] $46 billion for border security” back in 2013.

Verdict: True

A 2013 immigration bill that included $46.3 billion for border security was supported by all 52 Democrats in the Senate and only 14 Republicans. The bill was part of a bipartisan push for comprehensive immigration reform that included a path to citizenship for illegal aliens.

Fact Check:

The Rowdy Republican Facebook page shared the meme in response to the ongoing government shutdown, which centers on President Donald Trump’s insistence on, and Democratic opposition to, $5 billion in funding for a border wall.

“Do you think Democrats are hypocrites?” asked the post.

All 52 Senate Democrats, joined by 14 Republicans and 2 independent senators, did vote in favor of a 2013 immigration bill that included substantial funding for border security. The bill, sponsored by Democratic Sen. Chuck Schumer, was never voted on by the House of Representatives, which was controlled by the GOP at the time.

The bill, which sought to “provide for comprehensive immigration reform,” would have funded $46.3 billion in border security to be transferred from the Treasury to the Comprehensive Immigration Reform Trust.

That spending included $30 billion to train at least 19,200 additional border patrol agents on the southern border and $4.5 billion to carry out a border security strategy developed by the Department of Homeland Security. The bill would have also given $8 billion for fencing, infrastructure and technology, as well as $750 million for E-Verify, a system to help employers ensure their employees are legally allowed to work in the U.S.

Republican support in the Senate was contingent upon increased border security, though 32 Republicans still voted against the bill. The legislation included a 13-year pathway to citizenship for millions of illegal immigrants, which led many detractors to refer to it as an “amnesty” bill.

Incoming House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said back in 2013 that a path to citizenship was necessary to secure Democratic support for the immigration bill.

At the time, President Barack Obama said the bill represented bipartisan support for “commonsense” immigration reform. “The bipartisan bill that passed today was a compromise. By definition, nobody got everything they wanted,” he said. “Not Democrats. Not Republicans. Not me. But the Senate bill is consistent with the key principles for commonsense reform that I – and many others – have repeatedly laid out.”

With the bill facing conservative resistance in the House, one of the Senate Republicans in the so-called “Gang of Eight,” Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, said that he hoped the House would consider the legislation. “I think we have a good piece of legislation they should take a look at. There are a lot of good ideas that they should adopt,” he said at the time.

The House never took up the bill. Then-House Speaker John Boehner told reporters in July 2013 that they had no intention of doing so.

“I’ve made it clear and I’ll make it clear again,” Boehner said. “The House does not intend to take up the Senate bill. The House is going to do its own job in developing an immigration bill.”

The 116th Congress is being sworn in Thursday, with Democrats assuming control of the House. According to reporting by The Hill, Trump has invited congressional leaders to the White House on Friday for continued negotiations to end the shutdown.

Democrats are reportedly willing to approve $1.3 billion in border security funding as part of a broader spending package.

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Aryssa Damron

Fact Check Reporter