Three Republican amendments to the Supplemental Appropriations Act (H.R. 4899) failed this morning. The amendments, which included proposals to ramp up border security spending from Senators McCain (AZ), Kyl (AZ), and Cornyn (TX), failed to garner the necessary sixty votes needed for passage. The Supplemental Appropriations Act is a broader bill that funds the troop surge in Afghanistan as well as other national security measures.
Sen. John McCain introduced S. Amdt. 4214, which proposed to send 6,000 National Guard Troops to the border, five times what President Obama decided to send earlier this week after bowing under pressure. However, the amendment failed by a vote of 51-46, with only Sen. Voinovich (R-OH) crossing party lines to vote against the amendment. Before the vote, Sen. Schumer (D-NY) stated that sending 6,000 National Guard Troops to the border was “sort of throwing an enormous amount of money at the problem” without being “targeted and as effective as Obama’s plan.” Sen. Robert Menendez (D-NJ) was even harsher:
Sen. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.), the chamber’s lone Latino senator, criticized the McCain plan as “militarizing the border” and the “definition of insanity,” because it continued the previous efforts at building up a troop presence even as the flow of illegal immigrants continued to flow in from Mexico. “It’s a recipe for failure,” Menendez said, arguing instead for a comprehensive immigration reform plan backed by Obama.
Sen. Jon Kyl introduced the second Republican border security amendment, S. Amdt. 4228, which would provide $200 million to fully fund Operation Streamline throughout the southwest border. Sen. Schumer stood to oppose the amendment, arguing that the $200 million coming from the job stimulus would be used to incarcerate illegal immigrants as opposed to putting the money into job creation for the other 48 states. Schumer also reiterated his support for a comprehensive immigration proposal, stating that such a proposal would be more effective than an enforcement-only approach. The amendment failed by a vote of 54-44, with no Republican senators crossing party lines to vote against the amendment.
Finally, Sen. John Cornyn proposed S. Amdt. 4202, which would provide more than $2.2 billion in funding for various programs along the border. The amendment requested funding equivalent to more than a third of ICE’s total budget for FY 2010. Included in the amendment was $151 million for 3,300 more detention beds, $334 million for more border patrol officers, $170 million for unmanned aircraft, and almost $800 million for more ICE personnel. Sen. Schumer called the Sen. Cornyn’s amendment the “least responsible” of the three amendments proposed. Other Senators agreed—the amendment failed by a vote of 54-43.
These amendments failed because of their attempts to throw good money after bad without addressing the needs of our broken immigration system. The U.S. government has tried for more than two decades to stamp out unauthorized immigration at the border without addressing and reforming the system which spurs the unauthorized immigration in the first place.
Photo by bombsite.