Mixed reviews for the Senate. Last week, the Senate voted to move some of the funds that were supposed to go to Iraq to beef up the border. Now, the border definitely needs more money, fences, patrols, etc. That’s no question. The problem is that the Senate also is continuing its trend as an open pocketbook to just about any earmark lawmakers want.
The Senate voted Wednesday to divert some of the money President
Bush requested for the war in Iraq to instead increase security on the
nation’s borders and give the Coast Guard new boats and helicopters.
Senators also ignored a White House veto threat and overwhelmingly
voted against cutting a $106.5 billion measure funding Iraq, further
hurricane relief for the Gulf Coast and a slew of add-ons opposed by
fiscal conservatives and Bush.
Among those add-ons is a $700 million project to relocate a rail
line along the Mississippi coast so the state can build a new east-west
highway to spur economic development and ease transportation woes. Sen.
Tom Coburn, R-Okla., moved Wednesday to strike the project and 18
others, totaling $2.7 billion, saying they don’t belong in the
emergency war funding bill, though he’s not confident of his chances
when it comes time to vote.
On border security, the Senate voted 59-39 for a plan to cut Bush’s
Iraq request by $1.9 billion to pay for new aircraft, patrol boats and
other vehicles, as well as border checkpoints and a fence along the
Mexico border crossing near San Diego.