Senate border security bill stalls

A House-passed emergency spending bill that would beef up security efforts along the Mexican border has stalled in the Senate, even though Democrats and Republicans both support the funding.

Holding up the bill is a dispute between Republicans who insist that the spending be offset with unused economic stimulus money and Democrats who don't want to jeopardize funding for Recovery Act projects already under way.

Shortly before heading out for its summer recess, the House last week approved the stand-alone supplemental spending bill, which House Democrats crafted to provide $701 million in emergency border security funds.

Among other things, the funding would pay for 1,200 new Border Patrol agents, 500 more Customs and Border Protection officers, three new forward operating bases and two additional Predator unmanned aerial vehicles. The bill included $201 million in offsets, while the rest was unfunded.

Senate Democrats originally tried to add $500 million in border security funding to the emergency spending supplemental for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, but Republicans objected and argued that the funding was not offset and would worsen the nation's debt.

Senate Democrats believe they would meet the same resistance if they tried to bring the stand-alone House bill to the floor. "At this point we do not have an indication that Republicans have changed their minds about giving us consent to move the House border security bill," a Senate Democratic aide said.

A Republican aide countered: "My response is that it's ridiculous that Democrat leadership can speak to what Senate Republicans would do.

"There's a genuine desire to approve a border security funding bill," the aide added. "Why must the disagreement always boil down to whether we pay for it now, or shoulder future generations with the tab?"

Arizona Republican Sens. John McCain and Jon Kyl introduced a stand-alone border security supplemental spending bill last week that essentially mirrors the House bill but is offset with unused stimulus funding.

"The legislation we introduced ... will provide additional resources to help gain control of our border, without impacting our nation's deficit," they said in a joint statement last week. "It is our hope that Democratic majority will swiftly work with us to ensure passage of this bill."

That effort drew criticism from House Homeland Security Appropriations Subcommittee Chairman Rep. David Price, D-N.C.

"Since the Senate bill doesn't identify where the Recovery Act cuts would come from, we can only speculate about the worthwhile programs that would have to be scrapped," Price said in a statement Friday. "For example, there are major energy infrastructure investments, transportation projects, and even tactical border communications and border station construction projects that could be put on the chopping block. This reeks of election-year political games."

There were no indications Tuesday that Senate Democratic leaders would allow the McCain-Kyl bill to come to the floor for a vote.

Stay up-to-date with federal news alerts and analysis — Sign up for GovExec's email newsletters.
Close [ x ] More from GovExec

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Sponsored by G Suite

    Cross-Agency Teamwork, Anytime and Anywhere

    Dan McCrae, director of IT service delivery division, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)

  • Data-Centric Security vs. Database-Level Security

    Database-level encryption had its origins in the 1990s and early 2000s in response to very basic risks which largely revolved around the theft of servers, backup tapes and other physical-layer assets. As noted in Verizon’s 2014, Data Breach Investigations Report (DBIR)1, threats today are far more advanced and dangerous.

  • Federal IT Applications: Assessing Government's Core Drivers

    In order to better understand the current state of external and internal-facing agency workplace applications, Government Business Council (GBC) and Riverbed undertook an in-depth research study of federal employees. Overall, survey findings indicate that federal IT applications still face a gamut of challenges with regard to quality, reliability, and performance management.

  • PIV- I And Multifactor Authentication: The Best Defense for Federal Government Contractors

    This white paper explores NIST SP 800-171 and why compliance is critical to federal government contractors, especially those that work with the Department of Defense, as well as how leveraging PIV-I credentialing with multifactor authentication can be used as a defense against cyberattacks

  • Toward A More Innovative Government

    This research study aims to understand how state and local leaders regard their agency’s innovation efforts and what they are doing to overcome the challenges they face in successfully implementing these efforts.

  • From Volume to Value: UK’s NHS Digital Provides U.S. Healthcare Agencies A Roadmap For Value-Based Payment Models

    The U.S. healthcare industry is rapidly moving away from traditional fee-for-service models and towards value-based purchasing that reimburses physicians for quality of care in place of frequency of care.

  • GBC Flash Poll: Is Your Agency Safe?

    Federal leaders weigh in on the state of information security


When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.