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Arrington Delivers Floor Speech on Biden Admin Weaponizing Endangered Species to Keep Border Open

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, House Budget Committee Chairman Jodey Arrington (TX-19) took to the floor to speak in support of his proposed amendment to the Department of Interior Appropriations Act calling to defund President Biden's recently proposed rule which would list two Rio Grande Mussels as endangered and their habitats as critical.

The Biden Administration’s attempt to weaponize the Endangered Species Act was one of several attempts to stop Texas from securing the border with buoy barriers. In August, Chairman Arrington led his colleagues in an Amicus Brief in opposition to the Biden Department of Justice suing the State of Texas for placing buoy barriers in the Rio Grande River.

To watch Rep. Arrington’s remarks, click here or click the video below:

Rep. Arrington’s Remarks

“I rise to encourage my colleagues to support my amendment to the appropriations for the Department of Interior to prohibit any funds from being used to finalize President Biden's proposed rule, which would list two species of mussels in the Rio Grande River as quote, “endangered” and their habitat as quote, “critical.”

Unfortunately, it appears to me that our President cares more about the Mexican mussel and protecting this critical habitat than protecting the American people against violent Mexican drug cartels, who he has ceded control of our border to.

The only critical habitat that is endangered along the Rio Grande, I can say this as a Texan who's been there multiple times, are the people in the communities living alongside the Rio Grande because of the deluge of people, crime, and drugs pouring into our communities, not only in Texas, but throughout the country.

It is clear and evident to everyone in this country that our President has failed in his first and most important job to provide for the common defense, to enforce the laws of the land, and to secure our sovereign border.

Eight million people have crossed our border illegally under this Administration. Just in this past year, almost three and a half million, a record. Last month, 270,000, a record. Record drug flow, record migrant deaths, record abuses, humanitarian crimes - Title 8 of the U.S. Code says that no citizen can induce someone to break the law, and they cannot harbor lawbreakers, but that's exactly what's going on.

In Title 8 of the Federal Code, they call it aiding and abetting criminals. That's what our federal government, under our Commander-in-Chief and CEO, President Biden, is sanctioning and legitimizing. Thankfully, there's a section in the Constitution, Article 1, Section 10, that affirms that states have the sovereign right of self-defense. So, when there is an invasion or states experience imminent danger such that will not permit delay, they have the sovereign right to protect themselves. 

Here's the deal - President Biden isn't only abdicating his first and most important responsibility as President and Commander-in-Chief, he is infringing on states like Texas and their right to defend themselves and their citizens.

This is the case with this Mexican mussel, he's harassing our Governor and our state leaders as they desperately try to do what he has failed to do - that's to secure our sovereign border and protect the citizens of Texas. 

So, Mr. President, if you want to protect mussels in the Rio Grande River, stop illegal crossings. Not the buoys and the states who are desperately trying to protect their citizens.

Governor Abbott and our state leaders, again, in a desperate attempt to protect their citizens and our sovereign border, as a result of the failure and abdication of border security, which is a national security issue and a responsibility of our federal government, put out these buoy barriers to prevent people from taking the dangerous trek across the river and to uphold the law of the land. 

And here comes our President, who I think, and I hate to impugn such bad motives to our president, but I think he's more concerned about appeasing the open border left than he actually is about the Mexican mussel, quite frankly. Because he didn't care that there were millions of people crossing the border illegally, trampling this very critical habitat of the Mexican mussel. Never once was that an issue for the Secretary of Interior or this administration until Texans decided to stand up and fight for the safety of their citizens and to, again, honor and uphold the rule of law and our sovereignty as a state. 

That, I think, is the indication that maybe this president isn't quite concerned about critical habitats, and it's certainly not the habitat of the law-abiding citizens in Texas.”


  • In September, Chairman Arrington, House Homeland Security Chairman Mark E. Green, M.D. (TN-07), House Committee on Natural Resources Chairman Bruce Westerman (AR-04), and Border Security Caucus Co-Chairs Rep. Brian Babin (TX-36) and Rep. Andy Biggs (AZ-05) led a letter to President Biden and Secretary of the Department of the Interior Haaland inquiring about the July 25, 2023 U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service proposed rule to list the Salina mucket and the Mexican fawnsfoot mussels as endangered.
  • Fox News published an exclusive article on the highly suspicious endangered mussel decision that was seemingly meant to halt border buoys from being used.
  • In August, Arrington first sounded the alarm on the Biden Administration’s proposal to list the Mexican fawnsfoot mussel and the Salina mucket mussel as endangered.
  • Washington Examiner highlighted Arrington calling out the Administration’s ‘shell game’.
  • In July, Rep. Arrington led his Texas colleagues in a press conference to defend Texas' right to secure the border and encourage Governor Abbott to do whatever necessary to protect Texans.