Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) told Breitbart News in an exclusive interview Tuesday that House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) confirmed to him H.R. 29 is not dead as Rep. Tony Gonzales (R-TX) has claimed, but will be brought to the House floor for a vote in May.
“Today at conference, Speaker McCarthy committed that in May that H.R. 29, the Chip Roy bill to turn away or detain at the border would be on the floor. That is noteworthy because on Sunday, Tony Gonzalez declared that bill dead,” Gaetz told Breitbart.
Indeed, Gonzales declared the bill — which would force authorities to detain or turn away illegal immigrants trying to enter through the southern U.S. border — “dead.”
“There’s no way it’s going to get on the floor, I’m going to do everything in my power to prevent that,” Gonzales told CBS News’s “Face the Nation.” In another recent interview with the Washington Examiner, he said he objects to the bill on the basis it could hurt legitimate asylum seekers.
Gaetz told Breitbart News, “What’s happening right now is that some of the pro-amnesty Republicans are trying to have an asylum hole and our border policies are large enough to drive the caravans through.”
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House Committee on the Judiciary / YouTube
“The basic premise of the bill is detain or turn away. And it’s our belief that if we did that for a while, the cartels would get the message. And there wouldn’t be folks paying between $7,000 and $70,000 to be moved through Mexico, if upon confrontation with [the Customs and Border Protection]. They would be detained or turned away,” he said.
Gaetz said McCarthy’s recent assurances stemmed back to a deal struck he made in January with the Freedom Caucus hold-outs, who demanded concessions from McCarthy in exchange for their support as speaker. Gaetz was a leading hold-out.
“The reason that McCarthy is insisting on this bill go into the floor, despite these Republicans publicly signing its death warrant is because it’s part of the negotiation that lets his speakership,” he added.
Gaetz did say there were some concerns the bill would be pulled this week, and he was unable to get a firm assurance during a recent House GOP retreat in Orlando earlier this month.
“That concern has now been alleviated, thanks to Speaker McCarthy. Again, we committed to the fidelity of the deal that allows him to serve as speaker,” he said.
Roy, who introduced the bill, told Politico recently there was “a lot of unanimity” among House Republicans on the bill, and recently slammed Gonzales as being on an island.
Rep Chip Roy tells me Judiciary will take up border package after Easter, with a jab at fellow Texan Tony Gonzales, who has trashed Roy bill
Roy: “There’s a lot of unanimity in the conference, and one or two people have kind of put themselves on islands. We’ll see what happens”
— Sarah Ferris (@sarahnferris) March 27, 2023
Gaetz, who was the leading hold-out on McCarthy, praised the speaker.
“We could have been told by McCarthy, ‘Well that was then this is now — we’ve got voices in the conference speaking up against this. I can’t make you a commitment that this is coming to the floor.’ But instead of that, that potential milquetoast response, we got a firm strong commitment, that that this meaningful change will get an up or down vote,” he said.
“Every day I wake up, I see, you know, more fidelity from Kevin McCarthy to his commitments,” he said. “I would say we’re in a process of building trust, and building confidence as my friend Paul Gosar often says, ‘Trust is a series of promises kept.’”
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