The US House Homeland Security Committee approved a border security bill that includes $10 billion for a border wall.
The Border Security for America Act, proposed by Committee Chairman Michael McCaul (R-Texas), was passed on a party-line 18-12 vote.
The bill includes the $10 billion in border wall funding, $5 billion to improve ports of entry and adds 5,000 agents to both the Border Patrol and Customs and Border Protection.
The legislation would also authorize the federal government to reimburse states up to $35 million for use of National Guard assets to reinforce border security.
The legislation will head to the House floor amid debate over whether border security provisions should be attached to potential legislation to protect recipients of the rescinded Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.
Democrats criticized the bill as a political stunt to appease President Trump, who proposed the border wall as a central point of his campaign.
McCaul praised Trump’s focus on border security and urged the committee to seize the opportunity to legislate on the issue.
“We finally have a partner in the White House who has prioritized this issue, and it's time for Congress to do its job,” he said.
While the bill is expected to pass the House, it’s unlikely to clear the Senate, where it needs a 60-vote majority.
But Democrats are wary that the bill’s provisions could be the first shot at a Republican proposal for border security measures on a bill to protect so-called Dreamers - undocumented immigrants brought to the country as children - in the wake of Trump’s rescission of DACA.
The debate centered on the impact of the border wall on border communities and the environment on the border.
Democrats were incensed that a $15 billion proposal that includes measures they deem unnecessary would see a House vote before relief for Dreamers or for victims of Hurricanes Irma and Maria gets a vote.