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Missouri House OKs $2.2 million to send National Guard, state troopers to Texas-Mexico border

The Missouri State Capitol on Wednesday, Jan. 24, 2024, in Jefferson City. Gov. Mike Parson will deliver his last State of the State address today.
Eric Lee
St. Louis Public Radio
The Missouri Capitol on Jan. 24

The Missouri House voted Thursday to fund Gov. Mike Parson’s plan to send about 200 National Guard members and as many as 22 Missouri State Highway Patrol officers to the Texas-Mexico border.

With bipartisan support, representatives voted 122-12 to approve the $2.2 million bill, which now goes to the Senate.

Parson announced in February his plan to send personnel as a response to Texas’ request for aid.

Troops will arrive in Texas this month, Parson said.

While the state has money available for the plan, Parson asked for a supplemental budget bill to backfill that funding in case of an emergency. House Budget Chair Cody Smith, R-Carthage, sponsored the legislation.

“This is Missouri's response to that call for assistance from the State of Texas,” Smith said Tuesday.

Rep. LaKeySha Bosley, D-St. Louis, said that there is a lot the legislature can do to protect Missourians and that providing this funding wouldn't serve that purpose.

“We're always talking about making sure we take care of Missourians. We are not doing that with this bill. We are trying to take care of somebody else's problem,” Bosley said.

Rep. Betsy Fogle, D-Springfield, said the question isn’t whether to send troops to Texas—that was happening with or without the passage of this bill—but whether to have enough money budgeted for emergencies.

“The question that we're asking today is, ‘Do we want to give an additional $2 million, knowing that the troops are already going to go in case another crisis like a tornado or some other natural disaster hits our state?'” Fogle said.

The action comes as border legislation has stalled in Congress.

The initial deployment of the troops will last at least 90 days but could be extended, Parson said.

Sarah Kellogg is a Missouri Statehouse and Politics Reporter for St. Louis Public Radio and other public radio stations across the state.