McALLEN, Texas (Border Report) — U.S. Rep. Henry Cuellar, D-Texas, has been named the ranking member of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Homeland Security, which oversees the Department of Homeland Security’s mammoth annual budget.
Cuellar, of Laredo, Texas, is the first member from a border district to oversee DHS’s budget, his office said Wednesday.
DHS oversees U.S. Customs and Border Protection, FEMA, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, and the U.S. Border Patrol. It is the third-largest federal government agency with a workforce of 229,000. The DHS budget in Fiscal Year $2022 was over $90 billion.
“I am honored to serve as Ranking Member of the Homeland Security Subcommittee and I will use this new position to continue advocating for border communities,” Cuellar said in a statement. “As the first Representative of a border district to lead this Subcommittee, I will deliver bipartisan, common-sense solutions to secure our border, champion the men and women in green and blue, and protect border communities.”
Cuellar’s new appointment to the House Appropriations Homeland Security Subcommittee was expected, but not certain. He is the senior Democrat on the subcommittee and has served as the subcommittee’s vice chairman for the past two congressional terms.
He had been in line to chair the subcommittee if Democrats had maintained a majority in the House this 118th Congress. Republicans, however, took a slim lead and control all House committees and appointments.
“I’ve lived at the border my entire life. I know the work that needs to be done and how to tackle the problems that communities up and down the Southern Border face on a daily basis. We will accomplish these commonsense, bipartisan initiatives while treating migrants and those seeking to come to the United States with the dignity and respect they deserve,” Cuellar said.
House Appropriations Chairwoman Kay Granger, a Republican from Texas, on Wednesday gaveled in the first meeting of the Appropriations Committee, as well as announced new Republicans selected to serve.
“As chair of this great committee, I will focus on getting more members of Congress involved in the appropriations process and conducting rigorous oversight of taxpayer dollars. Being responsible stewards of the People’s money should not be a controversial position, and I hope my colleagues on the other side of the aisle join us in our effort to cut wasteful government spending,” Granger said.
Cuellar will serve under U.S. Rep. Rosa DeLauro, D-Connecticut, who was named ranking member of the larger Appropriations Committee.
Cuellar also was appointed to serve on the House Appropriations Defense Subcommittee, and Military Construction & Veterans Affairs Subcommittee.
He also serves as chief deputy Whip for the House.
“I’ll use my position on the Defense and Military Construction & Veterans Affairs Subcommittees to continue delivering resources for veterans, our military bases in San Antonio, as well as our men and women currently in uniform,” Cuellar said.
Cuellar called his ranking member position a “critically important position” and said, “It is time to get to work.”
Another Cuellar family member, his sister Rosie, has been sworn in a South Texas leadership position.
Rosie Cuellar is a new municipal court judge for the City of Rio Bravo, Texas, which is located southeast of Laredo.
Cuellar’s brother, Martin Cuellar, is the sheriff of Webb County, which includes Laredo.