Thursday, July 26, 2007

K-Lo has an update from a Senate aide on the $3 billion for border security: it seems like it's back due to some developments on the Senate floor today:

REID: Mr. President, let me just say I'll just take a minute and the Senator from Texas can speak. I told the Senator from South Carolina that I was going to be making a unanimous consent request. I say to my friend from Texas what a difference a night makes.

As you know — as some know, not very many, Senator Cornyn and I, Senator Graham and a few others, we were trying to work something out on this border security and Senator Cornyn and I were the last two to speak on this issue.

And like a lot of things around here, if you don't get your way, you kind of throw a tantrum a lot of times, and I didn't get my way, so I thought I would throw just a little tantrum. And the evening has brought to my attention that I was wrong, and Senator Cornyn was right.

I hate to acknowledge that but that's basically valid.

And so having said that, Mr. President, and swallowing a little bit of pride that I shouldn't have had, I now ask unanimous consent that when the senate resumes consideration of H.R. 2638 today, which will be just in a few minutes, that the time until 11:35 a.m. be for debate with respect to the Graham-Pryor border security amendment, and that has the senator from Texas' language in there.
The aide offers the following language for the measure:
There is hereby appropriated $3,000,000,000 to satisfy the requirements set out in section 1002(a) and, if any amount remains after satisfying such requirements, to achieve and maintain operational control over the international land and maritime borders of the United States, for employment eligibility verification improvements, for increased removal and detention of visa overstays, criminal aliens, aliens who have illegally reentered the United States, and for reimbursement of State and local section 287(g) expenses. These amounts are designated as an emergency requirement pursuant to section 204 of S. Con. Res. 21 (110th Congress).

More details. Reid and Cornyn reached an agreement last night:
As adopted Thursday, the funding would go toward seizing "operational control" over the U.S.-Mexico border with additional Border Patrol agents, vehicle barriers, border fencing and observation towers, plus Cornyn's crackdown on people who overstay their visas.
Senators are confident that they will be able to override a potential White House veto:
The measure is opposed by the White House, top Republicans said, and it clearly puts the president in a box. Bush had already promised a veto of the underlying homeland security bill for spending $2.3 billion more than he requested.

Now, Bush's GOP stalwarts in Congress such as Sen. Judd Gregg, R-N.H., are poised to override the president's veto.

Cornyn predicted the bill would "pass by a veto-proof margin" and Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., told reporters the bill might get 90 votes in the 100-member Senate.

Graham amendment for funding passes 89-1. Sen. Voinovich (R-OH) was the only dissenting vote.