The continuing shutdown of the U.S.-Canada border is destroying communities that rely on trade between the two countries, Rep. Matt Rosendale, whose home state of Montana includes more than 600 miles along the border, told Newsmax Tuesday.
"I've been visiting the border crossings up there as well as the southern crossings and what we recognize is that the communities that are reliant upon that trade back and forth are just being decimated," the Republican lawmaker told Newsmax's "Wake Up America." "We've got businesses that are being closed down. We've got families that are not able to celebrate weddings and births and mourn the loss of loved ones and that is all taking place across the border up there."
Rosendale said it is a concern that resources that would ordinarily be used for the nation's northern border will be diverted because of the surge of immigrants coming across the nation's border with Mexico.
Canadian Public Safety Minister Bill Blair said last week the country is extending its ban on non-essential travel from the United States and other countries until July 21. Canada's government is coming under increasing pressure to ease the ban, which started in March 2020 because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Rosendale also spoke out against last week's announcement from Veterans Affairs Secretary Denis McDonough that coverage will be offered to pay for gender reassignment surgery for transgender veterans.
The National Center for Transgender Equality estimated there are about 134,000 transgender veterans, and about 4,000 are interested in having the surgery.
Rosendale said Tuesday such government-funded surgery was proposed and then removed by former President Barack Obama for being "too radical."
He's written a letter to McDonough to protest the policy and said Tuesday that such surgeries "have not been shown to be "effective to help these people in any way, shape, or form. They still have the same problems and depression and many, many cases of suicide even after they have this."
Rosendale also said the surgeries would be offered for free while the government doesn't have resources to provide services or benefits to veterans suffering service-related injuries."
He added that the VA's priorities in this matter " are completely misguided."
"We're talking about diverting what could be billions of dollars...at the exact same time we can't even get the electronic health record system straightened out so that we can deliver the benefits that our service-related injury veterans have earned they deserve and they're waiting in line to receive."
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