The U.S. Senate added $46 billion for border security. The Senate is expected to pass the bill this week and hand it to the House, but GOP House members are probably going to resist approving the bill because the bill includes a pathway to citizenship for up to 11 million illegal immigrants.
Because there is a September 30 deadline for providing additional cash for the government and there is a debt limit issue, the $46 billion is problematic.
Republican Representative Tom Cole of Oklahoma, who sided with Barack Obama by supporting a tax increase on the wealthy before the “fiscal cliff” battle, is not siding with Obama this time, saying, “I think this issue is getting ready to slow down a lot. Until you get the fiscal issues settled, I wouldn’t be looking for any big immigration fight if I was in leadership.”
69 members of the Senate, including 15 Republicans, voted for the border security amendment; the $46 billion is light years beyond the $6.5 billion that the bill’s creators initially allotted. The money is supposedly to be used to double the number of agents on the U.S.-Mexican border from 20,000 to 40,000 as well as to construct 700-miles of fencing that would only cover parts of the border.
Republican Senator Bob Corker of Tennessee, defending the bill, said, “I don’t know how any Republican could look a TV camera or a constituent in the eye and not say that this amendment strengthens … the border and makes our border more secure.”
But Representative John Fleming of Louisiana said, “Our viewpoint is that we pass border security first so if anything comes to a vote in the House, it’ll be that,” continuing that Speaker John Boehner won’t bring up the bill in July, “He said in every way, shape and form this is not happening.” He added of a supposed group in the House creating a similar bill to the Senate’s, “They’re an apparition … I don’t even know who they are so how can we take them seriously.”
Republican Representative Raul Labrador of Idaho, added, “The American people are not clamoring for a path to citizenship. It is only the activists that are clamoring for a path to citizenship and you guys in the media keep … being shills for the activists.”
Republican Senator Charles Grassley of Iowa asserted that the bill “makes bold promises that may throw more money at the border, but there’s no accountability to get the job done.”