Bipartisan border bills push for compromise

HB 4306 by Texas Rep Kyle Biedermann moved out of the House Thursday with 100 votes. For the Fredericksburg Republican, the victory was not about party politics. "Basically it’s about cooperation, and just being honest, and talking to people about what can we really do together, what do we agree on, and let’s start there,” said Biedermann.

Rep. Biedermann said he wrote his border bill after meeting with officials in South Texas.

It creates a special fund to pay for things like clearing brush along the river, installing sensors, and paying for additional manpower at ports of entry.

The legislation also makes reference to flood control barriers instead of walls.

"So we took a lot of the words out that were going to be inflammatory or were going to cause any problems and we worked hard to make sure the bill was tight, and that it would do all the things we want to do without it getting out of hand,” said Biedermann.

Another border bill, HB 888, had a more difficult time clearing the House. The bill, by Odessa Republican Brooks Landgraf, involves children brought over the border. T

he legislation makes it a Class B Misdemeanor for an adult to falsely claims to be a child's relative. The bill won passage on a compromise after it was amended.

The deal allows children who are taken into state custody to be eligible for Medicaid.

In Washington, another bipartisan border plan was pitched. Texas Senator John Cornyn (R) and Congressman Henry Cuellar (D) TX 28 announced an immigration reform bill. "So I certainly think there is common ground here,” said Senator Cornyn.

The bill would increase the number of border agents to handle the influx of people crossing the border. It would also reform the laws regarding immigrant families reforming current laws dealing with unaccompanied children (UAC). "It basically takes exception law and the existing system, making sure people get due process and get expedited consideration of their claims,” said Senator Cornyn. 

The recent attempts to address hot button issues, like immigration, is a promising step according to Rep Biedermann. "Communication is always the way, to be able to overcome flash point issues, and just being able to be honest, but you also have to be careful, because you have your constituent at home, you've got those supporting you that they don’t want us to really cooperate they want us to have these different issues because that is what separates us and that’s unfortunate.”

The border bills that cleared the Texas House still have to make it through the senate.

The outcome there remains uncertain.