McCain border security plan falls short in Senate
See Mccain add for earmarking funds for troops
McCain troop plan falls short in Senate
The Senate turned back an effort Thursday by Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) to put 6,000 more security troops on the U.S.-Mexico border, as Democrats instead suggested that President Obama’s proposal for the temporary addition of a 1,200-person force was sufficient for now.
The McCain measure was proposed as an amendment to a $59 billion spending bill that funds the troop surge in Afghanistan and other emergency measures. It required 60 votes under Senate rules but fell short with 51. Forty-six senators voted no.
The border security battle has become the most politically contentious issue surrounding what has otherwise become a routine passage of the supplemental war-spending bill. Sensing the shifting ground, Obama proposed Tuesday a plan that would increase funding by $500 million and temporarily send 1,200 National Guard troops to help shore up the Border Patrol’s efforts against illegal immigration and Mexican drug cartels.
But Republicans rejected Obama’s effort as insufficient to deal with something they consider a national crisis.
“While it’s important to have additional resources there, even on a temporary basis, even on a limited basis, there’s a whole lot more that we need to do. We need permanent solutions, not temporary solutions,” Sen. John Cornyn (Tex.), a member of the Republican leadership and a co-sponsor of McCain’s amendment, told reporters Wednesday.
Most Democrats rejected the GOP plan as unnecessary, given the presidential proposal. “It’s sort of throwing an enormous amount of money at the problem that is not as carefully thought out, not as targeted and as effective, quite frankly, as President Obama’s plan,” Sen. Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) said moments before the vote.
Sen. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.), the chamber’s lone Latino member, criticized the McCain plan as “militarizing the border.” “It’s a recipe for failure,” Menendez said, arguing instead for a comprehensive immigration reform plan backed by Obama.