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Do border agents want Biden’s $14 billion? Lawmakers disagree

By Jake Beardslee · January 4, 2024

In brief…

  • Speaker Mike Johnson said border agents don't want Biden's proposed $14 billion in extra funding.
  • Rep. Jasmine Crockett disputed Johnson's claim, saying agents need more staffing.
  • Crockett said cities struggling with migration would welcome the funds.
A Republican House leader and a Democratic lawmaker disagreed over whether border patrol agents want $14 billion in extra funding proposed by Biden to address immigration issues.  U.S. House of Representatives/United States Congress/Wikimedia

A dispute has emerged between Speaker of the House Mike Johnson (R-La.) and Rep. Jasmine Crockett (D-Texas) over whether additional funding is needed to address migration issues at the southern U.S. border.

In an interview Wednesday on “CNN NewsNight with Abby Phillip,” Crockett criticized Johnson’s suggestion earlier that day that border patrol agents “do not want” the $14 billion in supplemental funding proposed by the Biden administration. The funds would provide 1,600 asylum officers, 1,300 Border Patrol agents, and 1,000 U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents.

“I disagree,” Crockett responded. “I obviously wasn’t there, so I don’t know who it was that the Speaker and his cronies were able to visit, but I can tell you that I’ve had these conversations. And what I hear is that they do need the funding.”

Crockett went on to say, “We have so many officers that are having to leave their homes and be forced to go to the border because we are understaffed.”

She advocated for both advancing the funding request and addressing needed policy changes, stating: “It’s not about doing one or the other. It’s about doing both.”

Johnson had told CNN’s Jake Tapper earlier Wednesday that border agents “want policy changes,” not additional funding. When pressed by Tapper on whether agents really don’t want the proposed $14 billion, Johnson replied: “No, no. I just quoted to you the deputy chief of the U.S. Border Patrol, and he said he doesn’t need more buckets. In other words, he doesn’t need more personnel to handle the flow. He needs to turn the flow off. That’s what we’re talking about.”