McALLEN, Texas (Border Report) — A bipartisan congressional delegation of the U.S. House Select Committee on Economic Disparity and Fairness in Growth on Friday is scheduled to travel to several towns in Texas’ Rio Grande Valley before holding a committee hearing on the border.
The delegation is first scheduled to tour a colonia, a low-income unincorporated community, as well as several other areas before holding a public hearing at 11 a.m. CDT in Weslaco, Texas.
U.S. Rep. Vicente Gonzalez, a Democrat from McAllen, is hosting the delegation. In a statement, his office said they are coming to hear from local leaders, community members and experts “on the challenges South Texans face regarding the local economy and infrastructure,” namely building and accessing modern infrastructure that is necessary to grow the local economy.
“The group of lawmakers will have an opportunity to gain first-hand insight as to the implications of outdated infrastructure on working-class communities and its impact on economic mobility,” according to a statement posted on the committee’s website.
They plan to discuss how to enhance South Texas border roadways, improve drainage infrastructure, expand access to broadband and reduce generational poverty.
This will be one of the first, if not the only, congressional delegation to visit and hold a House hearing on the South Texas border that is not related to immigration, several officials have told Border Report.
However, after the hearing concludes, several Republican members from the committee plan to take a boat ride on the Rio Grande and learn about Operation Lone Star, the border security initiative implemented by Texas Gov. Greg Abbott that uses the Department of Public Safety and sends Texas National Guard troops to the border.
It should be similar to many boat tours taken mostly by GOP lawmakers when they visit the Rio Grande Valley.
Gonzalez is a member of the 14-member committee that is chaired by Rep. Jim Himes, a Democrat from Connecticut. There are six GOP members including Rep. Jodey Arrington, of Texas, an outspoken advocate of stricter border security who has visited the Rio Grande Valley several times.
A late afternoon news conference is scheduled to be held in Mission, Texas, after the boat tour, and Border Report plans to cover the event.