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Heitkamp says 'the devil is always in the details' on $5 billion for border wall, while Cramer calls it a 'no-brainer'

From left: Sen. Heidi Heitkamp, D-N.D., and Rep. Kevin Cramer, R-N.D.

BISMARCK — North Dakota Democratic Sen. Heidi Heitkamp didn't offer a definite answer on whether she'd support President Donald Trump's $5 billion request for a wall on the U.S. border with Mexico this week as her Republican challenger, Rep. Kevin Cramer, called it a "no-brainer."

In a statement to the conservative online media outlet Breitbart published Thursday, Aug. 9, and later provided to Forum News Service, Heitkamp said "the devil is always in the details," adding that there's some uncertainty over the composition of the larger funding bill.

Heitkamp said she has "always supported increased and enhanced border security along our southwest border with Mexico — including physical barriers, sensors, drones, and more resources at our ports of entry — and yes, wall funding as well."

Republicans seized on several of Heitkamp's votes and comments that they argued contradicted her statement. Heitkamp's office pointed to a handful of her votes for border security.

Cramer and conservative groups have hammered Heitkamp on immigration in campaign ads, including one featuring Trump speaking at a Fargo rally this summer in support of Cramer's campaign.

Cramer voiced definite support for $5 billion for a border wall, representing a portion of some previous estimates for the total cost of the project.

"The president wants it, the country needs it, and the funding has already been approved by the House Appropriations Committee," he said in an emailed statement.

Trump, who campaigned on building a wall, has threatened to shut down the government over funding for the project and immigration policies. Heitkamp said "shutting down the government is never the way to go" and called for comprehensive immigration reform.

John Hageman

John Hageman covers North Dakota politics from the Forum News Service bureau in Bismarck. He attended the University of Minnesota in the Twin Cities, where he studied journalism and political science, and he previously worked at the Grand Forks Herald and Bemidji Pioneer.  

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