Rep. Scott Perry Calls for Blocking Biden’s State of the Union Over Border Policy Standoff

Ryan Morgan
By Ryan Morgan
February 26, 2024Politics
Rep. Scott Perry Calls for Blocking Biden’s State of the Union Over Border Policy Standoff
Rep. Scott Perry (R-Pa.) walks through the U.S. Capitol in Washington on Jan. 12, 2024. (Kent Nishimura/Getty Images)

Congressman Scott Perry (R-Pa.) has called for the Republican-controlled House to block President Joe Biden’s State of the Union address next week over disagreements with the president’s border security policies.

Appearing for an interview on Fox Business on Monday, Mr. Perry said the Republican-controlled House ought to use “every single point of leverage” it has to compel the president to take desired actions on border security and U.S. government spending writ large. One particular action he endorsed would bar the president from the customary annual address to the nation at a special joint session of Congress.

“[The President] comes at the invitation of Congress. The Republicans are in charge of the House,” Mr. Perry said. “There’s no reason that we need to invite him to get more propaganda and to actually blame the American people for the crisis he caused.”

Rather than giving President Biden the time to speak, Mr. Perry said Republicans could instead “spend the time reminding America that on day one he countervailed the last administration’s policies that were securing our border.”

Among President Biden’s first actions in office were to halt border wall construction and order a review of the Migrant Protection Protocols—also known as the “Remain in Mexico” policy—setting the stage for the president to later repeal the policy that required asylum applicants to wait in Mexico while their request for U.S. asylum was adjudicated. Republicans have credited these Biden administration policies for rising numbers of noncitizens attempting to cross the border, both legally and illegally, under the Biden administration.

After Republicans took control of the House last year, they passed a border security bill known as H.R. 2 or “The Secure the Border Act” that calls for expanded wall construction and requires expedited removal for those deemed to have entered or remained in the United States unlawfully. While the bill passed in the Republican-controlled House, the Democrat-controlled Senate has not taken up the measure for a vote.

More recently, President Biden touched on the issue of immigration and border security when he submitted a supplemental spending request this spring that tacked funding to hire additional personnel to adjudicate immigration cases onto a larger proposal for about $60 billion in new Ukraine-related spending and about $15 billion in aid for Israel’s military. Many Republicans countered with calls for President Biden to accept new border policy changes in line with H.R. 2.

The impasse over border security saw Senate negotiators deliberate over adding some border policy changes to President Biden’s spending supplemental, but an eventual deal was met with criticism from Republicans this month, who argued the deal still fell short of their policy demands. Members of the Biden administration, in turn, have claimed Congressional Republicans bowed to pressure from former President Donald Trump to keep the issue of border security unresolved before the 2024 election.

“Congressional Republicans killed the toughest, fairest bipartisan border security deal in a generation,” White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said in a Feb. 14 press conference, after the Senate border deal collapsed. Ms. Jean-Pierre suggested President Trump’s criticism of the Senate border proposal was the decisive reason the bill failed to garner Republican support.

The Senate dropped the border security provisions altogether in a $95 billion bill that fulfilled President Biden’s supplemental request for new funding for Ukraine, Israel, and various other U.S. alliances and partnerships in the Indo-Pacific region, but no border provisions. The House has yet to hold a vote on the $95 billion bill.

House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.) already formally extended the invitation for President Biden to deliver the State of the Union Address on March 7.

Lawmakers Propose No SOTU Without Budget Pitch

While Mr. Perry, a member of the staunchly conservative House Freedom Caucus, suggested revoking President Biden’s State of the Union invitation for apparently political reasons, another House Republican has suggested at least delaying the address until the president submits his budget proposal for fiscal year 2025.

The Congressional Budget and Impoundment Control Act of 1974 stipulates that a president is supposed to submit a fiscal year budget by the first week of February in the preceding fiscal year. While this timeline is set in U.S. statute, there is no enforcement mechanism, and various presidential administrations have routinely missed that deadline in recent years. In hopes of adding an enforcement mechanism to this deadline for presidential budget requests, Sen. Joni Ernst (R-Iowa) and Rep. Earl “Buddy” Carter (R-Ga.) have proposed legislation they dubbed the “Send Us Budget Materials and International Tactics In Time Act” or the “SUBMIT IT Act” that stipulates that a president may not deliver the State of the Union address until he has submitted his budget request.

“If the President is going to be allowed the opportunity to address Congress and the entire nation, he should actually have a plan in place. At a time when Americans are facing skyrocketing inflation and the world is on fire, we deserve more than just empty rhetoric. That’s why, before he delivers his State of the Union, I’m calling on President Biden to put in the work and submit his budget and National Security Strategy,” Mr. Ernst said upon introducing the legislation on Feb. 5.

On Monday, Mr. Carter reiterated his call to block President Biden’s State of the Union Address until he submits a fiscal year 2025 budget pitch.

“This is irresponsible. Until Congress receives the president’s national security strategy and budget, he has no business delivering a State of the Union address,” Mr. Carter told Fox News.

With days to go before the planned State of the Union Address, and with other priorities like passing a government funding measure to avoid a government shutdown, it appears unlikely that the “SUBMIT IT Act” will come to fruition in a way that blocks President Biden from delivering his speech to the American people.

Mr. Johnson has also made no indication he would revoke the invitation for the March 7 address.

The federal government is currently operating under a short-term budget, known as a continuing resolution. Funding for the federal government under the current continuing resolution is set to run out on March 8, after which a partial government shutdown is possible.

In 2019, then-House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) informed then-President Trump that the then-Democratc-controlled House would not advance an invitation for his State of the Union Address until he and Congress reached a deal to end an ongoing partial government shutdown and fund the government.

ntd newsletter icon
Sign up for NTD Daily
What you need to know, summarized in one email.
Stay informed with accurate news you can trust.
By registering for the newsletter, you agree to the Privacy Policy.