Rep. Dan Bishop (R-NC) envisions the House Homeland Security Committee, a committee that handles key aspects of immigration policy, of being an “oversight juggernaut” in the next Congress should Republicans win the majority in November.
Bishop, who is in his second term on the committee, confirmed to Breitbart News he has his sights set on chairing the committee during an interview at his Capitol Hill office last week.
“I am interested in it,” Bishop said. “I am somebody who doesn’t really fixate on particular positions overly. I have a more sort of cause-oriented approach, so I’ll go anywhere that will help the cause, but I do think that there’s an opportunity at Homeland that makes sense for me as chairman.”
Bishop worked as an attorney for three decades before his election to Congress in 2019. He is one of three members of the House Freedom Caucus — the conservative group known for keeping a check on Republican leadership — who have expressed interest in the position, which will be open next year in the wake of ranking member Rep. John Katko’s (R-NY) retirement.
Freedom Caucus chair Rep. Scott Perry (R-PA), an Army veteran who is not currently on the Homeland Security Committee but previously served on it for three terms, told Breitbart News in a phone interview that the open position is also on his radar, though he was less direct about his possible pursuit of it.
“I would certainly be taking a look at it. It might not be the only thing I’m taking a look at, but I would take a look at it,” Perry said.
Rep. Clay Higgins (R-LA), who has a background in law enforcement and is a ranking member on the committee’s Border Security, Facilitation, and Operations Subcommittee, is a third from the Freedom Caucus who is eyeing the open spot.
“This moment in our nation’s history demands a strong, law and order conservative at the helm of the Homeland Security Committee. My life’s journey has prepared me for this somber responsibility, and I fully intend to seek the Homeland Security Chair,” Higgins said in a statement, caveating, “Other solid Patriots will offer their service. I respect that.”
Bishop, who is also a member of the Judiciary Committee and good friends with ranking member Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH), noted there is a “particular logic that makes sense” in the possibility of him chairing Homeland. Jordan is currently poised to become chair of Judiciary, which shares jurisdiction over immigration issues, and Bishop said he would be able to smoothly conduct coordinated investigations with Jordan.
Jordan, a sagacious Freedom Caucus original who has GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy’s (R-CA) ear and communicates on a regular basis with McCarthy, told Breitbart News in an interview last week that although he felt all three of his Freedom Caucus colleagues would be suitable to chair Homeland, Bishop stood out to him the most.
“They’d all be good, but I’ve worked with Dan a lot on Judiciary, and he’s just a good lawyer who prepares and is ready — every big hearing we have. So I’ve seen that,” Jordan said, noting he planned to convey his opinion on the matter to McCarthy.
Bishop, for his part, said he has already expressed his interest in the role to McCarthy. McCarthy is the leading contender to become House speaker next year should Republicans take the majority, and he, in conjunction with the Steering Committee, would decide on Republicans’ committee posts.
While Republicans have little ability to dictate committee activity from the minority party, Bishop said that what Katko has been able to do from his leadership position in terms of communicating GOP priorities has proven insufficient. “I think his thinking is out of date about a decade,” Bishop said, noting he felt Katko “hasn’t gone deep enough, and he has at times sort of shown some naivety” in his attempts at bipartisanship.
Katko has been known to break with his party on pivotal votes in recent years.
The New York Republican joined 12 of his GOP colleagues in voting for President Joe Biden’s trillion-dollar climate-focused infrastructure bill in November. The bill included billions to address Democrat social concerns like highway “racism,” mentioned “equity” dozens of times, included expanding migrant processing centers to cater to the unprecedented flood of illegal migrant encounters at the southern border, and ultimately worked to drive the federal deficit up an estimated $256 billion.
Katko also voted last year with 29 other Republicans to advance a “farmworker amnesty” bill, two Republicans to advance the Equality Act, and, perhaps most notoriously, nine Republicans to impeach former President Donald Trump over the January 6 riot.
Should Bishop take Katko’s place next year, delving into the Biden administration’s border faults — such as its glaringly scaled-back application of the Supreme Court-approved Migrant Protection Protocols and its stunning failure to vet Afghanistan refugees — would be a priority, he said.
Bishop also said he finds that both the temporary work visas given to illegal migrants and the role non-governmental organizations (NGOs) play in essentially chauffeuring illegal border crossers, many of whom claim to be seeking asylum, to their final destinations within the U.S. are areas worth scrutinizing.
Doling out temporary work visas upon entry into the U.S., Bishop said, can “cause serious damage. … A lot of the big massive corporations want that to happen. It’s good for them, but it’s not good for Americans who are trying to scratch out a living in an environment where inflation is out of control and nobody seems to have their back.”
As for NGOs, “there are some things DHS can’t get away with doing itself. Those are the things the NGOs appear to do,” seemingly with taxpayer dollars, Bishop noted.
Perry also elaborated on the issue of NGOs, saying they “absolutely have to be addressed.”
“The American people, whether through NGOs, or faith-based organizations, don’t want their tax dollars to go to what is arguably the largest human trafficking, narcotics trafficking, and potentially gang trafficking operation the world has ever seen. … You can’t shine it up by taking or at least partially taking it out of the purview of the official federal government,” Perry stated.
The Freedom Caucus chair also said the Homeland Security Committee must prioritize the unfinished southern border wall and that DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas “should be enduring impeachment hearings” right now, and, moreover, that ranking member Katko “should be calling for that every single day.”
A fourth congressmember up for consideration for chair of Homeland next year, Rep. Michael Guest (R-MS), is not part of the Freedom Caucus but is currently the vice ranking member on the committee.
Perry said that regardless of who ends up in the number one post, it is his “hope and desire that someone from the Freedom Caucus represents the chairmanship of that and many other committees that are viable and is appropriate.”
Perry observed that while the Freedom Caucus makes up roughly one-fifth of the Republican Conference, it does not hold that proportion of committee and subcommittee leadership positions.
Perry is angling for that to change next year, and depending on if and by what margin Republicans have the majority next year, his caucus could have substantial leverage to push for that.