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TN Congressmen react to border spending deal's passage

The three Tennessee lawmakers had very different feelings about the bill.

Tennessee's lawmakers on Capitol Hill are sharing their thoughts after Congress approved a border security compromise Thursday that would avert a second shutdown. 

RELATED: Congress OKs border deal; Trump will sign, declare emergency

The bill heads now to President Donald Trump's desk to be signed, and includes roughly $1.4 billion for border barriers.

Rep. Tim Burchett (R- Tenn.) voted against the bill, saying he felt the '1,200 pages of legalese' was rushed through and failed to properly address border security.

"This is not how we ran things in Knox County, it’s not how they operate in the state legislature, and there’s no excuse for Congress to do business this way, either. I simply cannot support a bill that spends this much money without having the chance to figure out what is in it, and I’m definitely not going to support it if it fails to secure our borders but funds parties and other pork,” he said.

Burchett said his staff had only hours to review the spending bill -- which he says lawmakers should have been given at least 72 hours to review per congressional rules. In the past, the '72-hour rule' has been waived by the controlling party or outright ignored/dismissed depending on the circumstances. 

"This appropriations bill includes slush-fund spending, like $60,000 for parties at the Department of Transportation, and $65 million to study and preserve Pacific Salmon," he said. "These are just two examples we were able to find in the time we had to review the bill. I doubt anyone in Congress really knows everything that is in this legislation."

Across the aisle, Rep. Steve Cohen (D -Tenn.) said he voted for the measure, saying the $1.4 billion set aside for border funding would go to barriers and bollard fencing, but rule out "the President’s 'big, beautiful' border wall."

“Tonight’s vote will, I hope, end demands for a wall while actually increasing border security more effectively. We need to have a fully functioning federal government providing services to the American people and incomes to our federal employees. I look forward to an end to threatened shutdowns," he said.

Cohen also touted other spending measures in the bill, including $44.2 billion for Housing and Urban Development Department programs, and another $8 billion for new housing and infrastructure. 

Rep. Chuck Fleischmann (R-Tenn.) also voted for the bill, saying it would provide funding for 55 miles of new border wall in points along the Rio Grande Valley.

"Although I would have preferred to fully fund the President’s request, which I voted to fulfill previously, this package provides a substantial installment towards the ongoing border wall construction and additional technology," he said.

Fleischmann said he negotiated for more funding for a border wall, but still voted in favor of the package because he "could not support another harmful government shutdown."

"It was an honor to be part of the conference committee and have the immense responsibility to come up with a bipartisan and bicameral funding package," he said. "Tonight’s vote was not the end in the border security discussion, and I will continue to support a strong, safe, and secure southern border.”