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FILE - In this March 30, 2017 file photo, a portion of the new steel border fence stretches along the US-Mexico border in Sunland Park, New Mexico. Congressional Republicans have a new talking point about President Donald Trump’s border wall: It’s not really a wall at all. The issue arose this week as Congress squabbled over government-wide spending legislation including money for security measures along the U.S.-Mexico border. (AP Photo/Rodrigo Abd, File)

House committee approved $10 billion to fund border wall



The House Homeland Security Committee approved a bill on Wednesday that would provide $10 billion for a border wall o the U.S. Mexico border.

The committee passed The Border Security for America Act, 18-12.

Under the bill, Border Patrol and Customs and Border Protection, would each receive 5,000 extra agents. In addition, the federal government will have to reimburse states up to $35 million for use of National Guard assets to reinforce border security.

Rep. Michael McCaul (R-TX), who introduced the bill in July, called it "a 21st Century, multi-layered approach" to securing the border.

"We have been talking about border security for so many years and now we finally have a chance to get this done," McCaul said. "We finally have a partner in the White House who has prioritized this issue. It's time for Congress to do its part and get this done."

"We finally have a partner in the White House who has prioritized this issue and it's time for Congress to do its job," McCaul added.

Democrats have criticized the bill throughout the process.

"It is a $15 billion boondoggle that abandons past bipartisan efforts to stop throwing money at the border in an ad-hoc way in favor of strategically deploying resources," Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-MS) said.

Texas lawmaker Rep. Filemon Vela (D-TX) added that the legislation could have "dire consequences" on wildlife near the border wall.

Rep. Will Hurd (R-TX) created two proposals to protect the environment, but they were rejected by Democrats.

The committee approval of the bill comes as four companies hired by the Trump administration begin to construct eight prototypes of the border wall in the San Diego area.

Ronald D. Vitiello, acting deputy commissioner at Customs and Border Protection, said that the prototypes will cost $400,000 and $500,000 each.

The bill is expected to go forward to the House floor where lawmakers will debate whether to include border security provisions to a potential bill that will protect recipients of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.

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