Republican members of Congress separate slogans from reality along Rio Grande

U.S. lawmakers tour the Rio Grande River (KXAN Photo)
U.S. lawmakers tour the Rio Grande River (KXAN Photo)

McALLEN, Texas (KXAN) — Republican lawmakers from Texas and across the country are in the Rio Grande Valley this week. U.S. Senator John Cornyn organized a tour Monday, saying he wants them to see the issues at the border for themselves.

They packed onto border patrol boats as they spanned the river, touring checkpoints and international bridges. He invited local mayors to tell D.C. lawmakers how much the trade between the two countries mean on the ground in Texas. Texas leaders don’t want negative consequences to changing the North American Free Trade Agreement.

“If we need to update NAFTA, then let’s update NAFTA. But we don’t need to throw the baby out with the bathwater,” said Sen. Cornyn.

The senator tells me that’s a big part of this trip. Now that Republicans have control in Washington, they need to know the situation outside of campaign slogans.

“As somebody who represents Texas, I see a lot of attention to the border that I want to be constructive, not destructive to the great economy we have here,” said Sen. Cornyn.

They visited a McAllen Border Patrol Station, spoke with local mayors and toured the Pharr-Reynosa International Bridge and checkpoint.

U.S. Senator Dean Heller of Nevada told us that seeing the situation firsthand makes a big difference when they decide policy. “I am fearful for someone from the state of Nevada, that tourism is such an important part of as you can imagine Las Vegas, is starting some trade wars with other countries and the impact that would have,” said Heller.

Senator Cornyn’s delegation continues to Laredo Tuesday. Speaker of the House Paul Ryan is scheduled to arrive Wednesday for his first visit to the Rio Grande Valley. We’ll be there to bring you a look at his tour of the border.

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