The multi-trillion dollar omnibus spending package, considered a centerpiece of President Joe Biden’s legislative legacy, isn’t through the woods just yet, and there are serious GOP concerns over the lack of funding for security along the southern border with Mexico.
The main opposition comes from a group of five Republican senators who have declared that so long as the spending bill does not provide for sufficient funding of border security, specifically the southern border wall, they will not vote for it. The five senators who made the declaration are Senators Mike Braun (R-IN), Marco Rubio (R-FL), Mike Lee (R-UT), Cynthia Lummis (R-WY), and Ted Cruz (R-TX).
In a letter addressed to their fellow senators, obtained exclusively by Fox News, the quintet stated their grievances, saying that the terms set forward by the Senate Appropriations Committee “fail to provide America’s border agents with the proper security infrastructure necessary to defend America’s southern border from the continued crisis of unrestrained illegal migration.”
The letter goes continues, citing repeated perceived leadership failures in the Biden administration, and also specifically mentioning Vice-President Kamala Harris in assigning blame:
“The failure to provide sufficient resources is a continuation of the Biden-Harris Administration’s inability and unwillingness to acknowledge the humanitarian and national security risks created by its open-border policies. We write to indicate that we will withhold support of any negotiated Fiscal Year 2022 omnibus funding agreement that fails to appropriately fund our nation’s border security.”
In addition, the letter notes that funding for the wall has been absent from any Democratic appropriations bills. An appropriation bill for Homeland Security gutted $1.9 billion from wall funding and reassigned it elsewhere. This has resulted in the bill assigning $14.5 billion to fund Customs and Border Protection (CBP), but that is down by more than $500 million from the urgent request by CBP for fiscal year 2021.
Bitter and acrimonious debate over the southern border is nothing new. Biden’s administration has sought to pin the blame for the explosion of incidents such as drug smuggling and deaths at the border on things such as conflict and poverty in Central America driving people northward as they flee. Following this logic, the bill’s summary states the rationale for slashing the budget despite the border crisis.
That claim is sharply contested by Republicans, to put it mildly. Many instead point to Biden’s reversal of Trump era policies, such as halting border wall construction, and the fact that in response to these incidents, the Biden administration hasn’t offered any alternative solutions at all. The complete lack of any meaningful attempt to address these problems on the most basic level (except for trying to stealthily re-instate some Trump policies) has become a lightning rod for criticism.
Efforts to force the issue have continued elsewhere, as Missouri and Texas sought out a preliminary injunction last week against the Biden administration to force construction of the wall to continue, adding that reassignment of funds in the omnibus bill is unconstitutional.
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