Perry's biggest “oops” moment may not be that he couldn't remember the 3rd federal agency he'd like to nix as president, but that he signed a budget in 2013 that reduced the amount of state money allocated for border security to the DPS.
Today Rick Perry made the rounds on national TV to berate the White House over its handling of the border situation, but he also told Britt Hume of Fox News that he does not support Congress appropriating the $3.7 billion that President Obama has suggested to address the problem.
Perry chided Obama for missing a photo op along the border, but when it was his turn, instead of meeting with the children or charity groups he took to a boat with Sean Hannity and a machine gun.
Why? Because that is the message Perry wants to send. He may be “pro-life”, but only after the border is sealed and these unaccompanied minors are deported to their countries of origin.
Perry is also calling for putting drones and more troops at the border, and cutting off aid to central American countries — none of which will not stop the flow of immigrant children.
Senator Tom Harkin (D- Iowa) said, “These kids need to be protected. They need to have (Health and Human Services) protect them, and care for them, and give them every meaningful right to apply for asylum.” Rep. Joaquin Castro (D-Texas) seemed to agree saying that who gets asylum and who gets deported “are decisions for an immigration judge to make, not for the president or myself or any member of Congress.”
Perry's real motivation seems to be rehabilitating his national reputation among the GOP faithful for a run in 2016. In 2011 he signed a budget for the 2012 and 2013 biennium that included $40,136,680 for border security and in 2013 he signed a budget that included $35,473,479 over $4.5 million less. It was not a large reduction, but that is not the point. It runs counter to the GOP's rhetoric that they can not rely on the federal government to secure the border.
Last month Wendy Davis joined lawmakers on in both parties urging Perry to call a special session and declare a state of emergency to address the crisis at the border. In a letter to Perry she wrote,
- “You took a solid step, which I support, to address that by increasing support to the Department of Public Safety to help along the border…However, local counties, cities and charitable organizations are also spending already limited resources to meet the basic needs of these individuals and their families.”
When Perry's team said she should speak to her friend and ally President Obama she shot back with,”
- “I am acting in my role as a senator and calling on him to do what he should have done weeks ago and that is to call us together as a Legislature so that we can appropriate necessary relief funds to local communities who are dealing with a humanitarian crisis,”
The $4.5 million reduction of funds to the DPS for border security may not seem like a lot of money for the state of Texas but it is another example of Perry demagoguing the issue while bypassing real opportunities to address solutions.
With his signature the Governor approved the reduction of money allotted to protecting something that he claims is a top priority, and now he is encouraging his own state's GOP delegation to turn down billions from the federal government that would help the state address this very issue.
Follow me on Twitter at @joethepleb.
Legislative Budget Board 2012-13 Biennium
Legislative Budget Board 2014-15 Biennium