Higgins on front row for border wall debate, possible Trump investigations
Louisiana GOP U.S. Rep. Clay Higgins' committee assignments have landed him on the front lines of the border wall controversy and potential investigations of President Donald Trump and his administration.
But now in the minority, House Republicans can generally only expect to deflect and defend rather than drive policy during the next two years.
Higgins was named the top Republican on the House Homeland Security's Subcommittee on Border Security, Facilitation and Operations and assigned to the House Oversight & Reform Committee.
The Acadiana congressman, a consistent advocate for Trump's wall, said he has scouted the entire southern U.S. border and spoken with agents in each command sector.
"Our nation faces significant challenges, and perhaps none are more serious than the national security and humanitarian crisis on our southern border," said Higgins, echoing Trump. "This subcommittee will be a focal point of the debate on how to best address border security."
The subcommittee is responsible for all aspects of security operations along with land, air, and maritime borders. Its jurisdiction includes three of the Department of Homeland Security’s seven operational components: U.S. Customs and Border Protection, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), and U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services.
“Our primary focus will be providing front-line defenders with the resources that they need and that they have requested," he said. "This includes modern technology to detect illegal crossings, enhanced physical barriers to delay those crossings and additional manpower to respond and make arrests as necessary.
"This is a comprehensive approach that is guided by direct intelligence from the border agents and law enforcement professionals charged with securing our borders. We must provide those men and women with the necessary tools to carry out their mission.”
U.S. Rep. Mike Rogers of Alabama, the top Republican on the Homeland Security Committee, said he is pleased to have Higgins "at the helm of the subcommittee that oversees these critical issues; he is sharp and well-equipped for the job.”
Higgins said he will act as a shield for "liberal attacks" against the president as a member of the House Oversight and Reform committee.
Many expect Democrats to use the committee as a launching pad for possible investigations of the president and his administration.
“Democrats will do everything in their power to attack and obstruct President Trump," Higgins said. "The (House) Oversight & Reform Committee will be an important battleground over the next two years. I will be a loud voice against these liberal attacks."
In an interview with USA Today Network, Higgins said he expects Democrats "to be relentless in their attacks of the president."
"It became clear to me that the Oversight Committee is the place where America needed me and President Trump needed me," said Higgins, explaining why he sought the assignment.