Congressman Jeff Van Drew, D-2nd, said Sunday on a Fox news show that more research should be done before the country further increases spending on a southern border wall.

President Donald’s Trump fiscal year 2020 budget will request another $8.6 billion for more border wall, enabling him to finish more than 700 miles of fencing, according to Republican leaders. The fiscal year starts Oct. 1.

Trump will also ask for a 5 percent decrease in spending across the board, other than for the military, and Van Drew said many in Congress are concerned about how that will affect programs important to many Americans.

“These are really difficult times fiscally, and the devil is in the details,” said Van Drew on the Fox News Show “America’s News Headquarters w/ Eric Shawn,” just after noon. “I believe we do need to have strong borders ... yet we have just come to an agreement on $22 billion, which is a record amount of money.”

Trump had requested $5.7 billion for a border wall this year, and declared a national emergency to spend that much when Congress did not vote for it.

Van Drew said the $22 billion was for more manpower, technology, beds and for the wall.

“I’d like to see a lot of that get into place, get done, and have experts analyze where we are before we rush into doing something else” said Van Drew. “At the same time we’ve got budget caps, a budget deficit, and budget debt. So we have money problems.”

The national debt is more than $22 trillion and growing, and the annual budget deficit in 2019 was $984 billion.

Van Drew again stressed the need for bipartisan action, something he has been calling for soon after getting sworn in to office Jan. 3, and having to immediately deal with a federal government shutdown over the wall.

“People need to sit down together with the experts in an apolitical way — God help us, I don’t know if its’ going to happen — and figure out what we really do need,” he said.

Trump’s 2020 budget request includes money for 2,800 more border agents, 100 more judges to handle asylum seekers, and more infrastructure.

“The judges we need. We’ve got to move these people,” said Van Drew. “Immigration officers we need, and we do need some physical border, and we do need all the electronic and other mechanisms ... to keep this border safe.”

Van Drew also voted this week in favor of H.R. 1, the “For the People Act,” which would require the disclosure of all Super PAC donors, and place limits on campaign contributions, his office said.

The bill is a response to the Supreme Court’s 5-4 decision in Citizens United v. FEC in 2010, which said corporations and unions have a First Amendment right to use their general treasury funds for political advertising.

The bill also protects the integrity of elections by strengthening voting rights protections and ending the process of partisan redistricting, according to Van Drew.

Similar legislation is being proposed for New Jersey.

A bill to require disclosure of contributions to political action committees (A1524/S1500) passed the New Jersey Senate last month and is now in the Assembly.

Van Drew garnered a lot of attention as a freshman by focusing on ways to work with the Republicans to end the government shutdown that he dealt with as soon as being sworn in Jan. 3.

He also voted against Nancy Pelosi for speaker, and has been a guest on Fox News shows hosted by Maria Bartiromo to talk about bipartisan solutions to the nation’s problems.

He voted with his party, however, in favor of a bill blocking Trump’s emergency declaration to build a wall at the southern border. Van Drew said Trump’s use of the emergency declaration was not constitutional, and set a bad precedent.

Contact: 609-272-7219 Twitter @MichelleBPost

Staff Writer

In my first job after college got paid to read the New York Times and summarize articles for an early online data base. First reporting job was with The Daily Record in Parsippany. I have also worked in nonprofits, and have been with The Press since 1990.

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