Lankford Sounds the Alarm on Funding Bill: Offers Amendments to Stop Funding for Border National Security Risk and Late-Term Abortion

CLICK HERE to watch Lankford’s Q&A on YouTube.

WASHINGTON, DC – Senator James Lankford (R-OK) spoke on the Senate floor this evening to discuss the two amendments he has introduced to the FY 2024 Consolidated Appropriations Act, which the Senate is set to vote on in the coming days to avert a partial shutdown.  

The first amendment is on an issue Lankford has raised for over a year. It would amend the Homeland Security appropriations bill to prohibit funding for the release of “Special Interest Aliens” from federal custody until their case has been fully adjudicated. A Special Interest Alien is designated as a national security risk to the United States and its interests due to a nexus to criminal or terrorist groups. Last week, Lankford pressed FBI Director Wray for answers on how the agency is tracking Special Interest Aliens during an open Senate Select Committee on Intelligence hearing. 

The other amendments Lankford addresses in his remarks would strike funding to two hospitals that provide late-term abortions up to 22-weeks. The earmarks would provide almost $2.5 million dollars in federal tax dollars to hospitals that preform late-term abortions. Senator John Cornyn (R-TX) joined Lankford in introducing the amendments.


On Special Interest Aliens

A Special Interest Alien is a designation that the Department of Homeland Security places on an individual when they cross the border based on where they were traveling from. Maybe their connections there are areas of known terrorism, their travel patterns…when they’re labeled Special Interest Aliens, the Department of Homeland Security is declaring this person potentially a national security risk to the United States…

In the past five months we’ve had 58 individuals that were on our terror watchlist. Those individuals on our terror watchlist, we know who they are, they’ve been identified, they were detained. We cannot get an exact number of the number of Special Interest Aliens…individuals we know have terror links, or come from an area with known terrorism, or traveling in a travel pattern we know other terrorist have traveled…so we know that much about them but we don’t know anything else about them. We’ve asked the simple question: are they detained? The answer so far has been ‘not all of them.’…

The amendment I’m bringing is very simple… to say we do not allow funding to be used to release people that have been designated a potential national security risk, to have them released in the United States. 

On Earmarks to Hospitals that Perform Late-Term Abortion

Two of these earmarks deal with a hospital—one of them is Dartmouth Hitchcock Hospital in New Hampshire and the other one is Women and Infants Hospital in Rhode Island. What would be unique about those hospitals, well this is about $2.5 million in earmarks between the two of them, these two hospitals actually do late term abortions. They’re different than other hospitals that are on the earmark list. In fact not only do these two hospitals actually do late term abortions—they actually advertise that they do late term abortions and put the word out…

Twenty-two weeks, we’re pushing 5 months of pregnancy. We have children that are alive today that were born premature at 21 weeks, but they’re alive today because they were able to get the care when they had a premature delivery at 21 weeks. To make it clear what we’re actually up against and what this looks like compared to other countries, locations Spain does not allow abortion after 14 weeks. It’s not legal because the country of Spain considers late term abortion after 14 weeks. Germany restricts abortion after 12 weeks. Italy restricts abortion after 12 weeks. Twenty-two weeks is a late term abortion…We have a lot of differences in opinion on this issue of life in the value of every single child. I understand that. We’ve had respectful dialogue in this chamber multiple times on this issue as I’ve brought this up, but at 22 weeks there is no question that a child feels pain in the womb. There’s no question that at 22 weeks, all science shows that a baby in the womb can recognize its own mom’s voice and will jump in the womb when there’s a loud sound. At 22 weeks, a baby even already has developed taste buds. Twenty-two weeks is a late term abortion and two of these hospitals that have designated earmarks perform this, and I have an objection to that and I think we as a body should talk about not just our standard for this—what does that mean…

I do object to those earmarks and think that’s the wrong direction for federal dollars to be used to be able to supply a hospital with dollars that are performing this type of late term abortions.