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Rep. Banks: No budget deal without border security concessions

Banks: No budget deal without border deal

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Congressman Jim Banks said he will not support any budget deal that does not include spending cuts and a return to Trump-era border policies.

In an interview for All INdiana Politics, the Republican told News 8 the ongoing crisis at the southern border is a national security issue and the single biggest problem facing Congress. He said Congress needs to approve H.R. 2, the House GOP-backed border security bill that passed the House but stalled in the Senate. Among other things, H.R. 2 would reinstate the Trump Administration’s so-called Remain in Mexico policy and codify it into federal law. Democrats have called the bill a non-starter.

“This is catastrophic, the drugs that are flowing into our country, the crime that is flowing into our country and the long-term effects of all of that is going to have a devastating impact on America,” said Banks.

Besides the border issue, Banks said he insists on spending cuts. According to the Treasury Department, the national debt sits just shy of $34 trillion. He said every spending bill is an opportunity to cut wasteful spending. Banks said at this point, it’s too hard to predict if there will be a government shutdown.

House Speaker Mike Johnson has said he would not employ any further continuing resolutions to keep the government funded. Banks said he will hold Johnson to that promise, though he indicated he would not favor removing Johnson if he breaks that promise. Banks voted against the removal of former Speaker Kevin McCarthy in September.

News 8 also asked Banks about a string of recent controversial comments from former President Donald Trump, who has endorsed Banks in his Senate campaign and whom Banks, in turn, has endorsed for president. In recent weeks, Trump has referred to his opponents as “vermin” and accused immigrants of “poisoning the blood of the country,” comments which critics have likened to language employed during the Nazis’ rise to power in Germany in the early 1930s. Trump also has said at several campaign events he would not act as a dictator “other than day one.” Banks would not directly answer when asked if this is appropriate behavior for a presidential candidate but said he continues to support Trump, particularly on his border policies.

“Most legal immigrants in America know this is a giant crisis for our country,” Banks said. “It’s way too easy to come across the border illegally and the legal process is completely broken.”

Banks also weighed in on a new Congressional probe into the V-22 Osprey program following a deadly crash in Japan last month. A tiltrotor aircraft with a far greater range and speed than a helicopter, the Osprey has been plagued for years by a series of deadly crashes, both during its development and after it became operational in the mid-2000s. A 2022 crash involving an Osprey killed Fort Wayne Marine Capt. Matthew Tomkiewicz. Banks said the Pentagon needs to keep the Osprey, but fix its ongoing issues.

“I’m glad the Pentagon has grounded the fleet, taking it seriously, but each of these Ospreys costs well over $100 million apiece,” Banks said. “I hope we can get it fixed and get the fleet back in operation because it’s very important to our national security.”

All INdiana Politics airs at 9:30 a.m. Sunday on WISH-TV.