U.S. House Republicans on Monday abandoned their plan to vote for a committee-approved bill on border security, amid opposition from party members and conservatives.
The snowstorm that struck the East Coast was blamed as the reason why the vote was cancelled.
The bill, the Secure Our Border First Act of 2015, introduced by Rep. Michael McCaul of Texas, was passed by McCaul’s Committee on Homeland Security last week.
It requires the Department of Homeland Security to have a 100 percent operational control of high traffic areas of the southwest border in two years and the entire border in five years and establishes a commission to verify if the border is secure.
“Our border must be dealt with through regular order and in a step-by-step approach – not through any type of comprehensive immigration reform. We must stop the bleeding at the border,” said McCaul upon the passing of the bill in the committee level.
The bill also requires the secretary of the Department of Homeland Security to submit a report about the situation and operation on the northern and southern borders of the United States..
This was the second time that Republicans pulled a bill after earlier deciding not to vote on a bill that prohibits abortion after 20 weeks of pregnancy.
Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson described the bill as “unworkable.”
“If enacted, it would actually leave the border less secure,” he said, saying that Border Patrol describes the mandatory standards of the bill as “impossible to achieve.”
Johnson said the bill “undermines the Department of Homeland Security’s capacity to adapt to emerging threats, and politicizes tactical decisions.”
He said what the department needs from Congress is funding for additional resources that the department put on the border last year and additional equipment and technology.
The vote for the border security bill will likely take place early next month.
A similar bill is in the Senate, introduced by Senators Ron Johnson, John Cornyn and Jeff Flake.