House Democrats on the select economic committee are heading to the border – but not for the reason one may think.
The House Select Committee on Economic Disparity and Fairness in Growth Democrats announced on Wednesday that they were headed to the Rio Grande Valley, led by vulnerable Texas Democrat Rep. Vicente Gonzalez.
According to a committee press release, the Democrats will be traveling to the border on June 17 to “conduct a series of field events across the community” regarding local infrastructure and its effect on the economy.
“Led by Congressman Vicente Gonzalez (TX-15), the bipartisan congressional delegation will hear directly from local leaders, community members, and experts about the challenges Deep South Texas faces building and accessing the modern infrastructure necessary to grow the local economy and benefit the full community,” the press release reads.“The group of lawmakers will have an opportunity to gain first-hand insight as to the implications of outdated infrastructure on working-class communities and its impact on economic mobility,” it continues.
The release goes on to say that the visit “will help underscore practical approaches – from the federal to local level – to enhance roadways, improve drainage infrastructure, and expand access to broadband,” as well as visiting local “‘colonias’” “to illustrate unique infrastructure challenges impacting unincorporated communities and highlight obstacles in escaping generational poverty.”
Colonias are low-income, unincorporated communities along the U.S.-Mexico border that lack necessities – like sewage and potable water – and are often made on illegally subdivided land.
Texas has the most colonias out of any U.S. state, housing over 2,000 of the communities. Many of the colonias in Texas were settled as homesteads.
Meanwhile, Republicans on the House Select Committee on the Economy – the same committee under a different name – are also traveling on the same trip to the border but are focusing on the crisis there alongside infrastructure needs.
“During the hearing, Republicans will discuss the impacts of the Biden administration’s policies on border towns and the resources needed to secure our border and protect our communities,” the committee GOP release reads. “While at the border, Republicans will hear about the challenges a variety of local leaders and stakeholders face.”
The committee Republicans will also tour the colonias with Democrats and participate in a congressional hearing on local infrastructure.
“Following the hearing, Republican members will tour the border,” the release reads. “Members will see how the humanitarian crisis at the border is forcing municipalities to use taxpayer funded resources to deal with the crisis, rather than the infrastructure the community needs.”
The committee’s trip to the border comes as a new large migrant caravan makes its way through Mexico to the U.S.