Democrats put pork ahead of border fence

Washington Times:

Congress last night passed a giant new spending bill that undermines current plans for a U.S.-Mexico border fence, allowing the Homeland Security Department to build a single-tier barrier rather than the two-tier version that has worked in California.

The spending bill, written by Democrats and passed 253-154 with mostly their votes, surrenders to President Bush's budget demands, meeting his spending limit with a $515 billion bill to fund most of the federal government and setting up votes to pay for the Iraq war. But Democrats reached his goal in part by slashing his defense and foreign-aid priorities to pay for added domestic spending.

The concessions promise to end a months-long budget standoff before Congress adjourns for the year and takes a Christmas break scheduled to start by Friday. In a rare two-step maneuver, the House first voted 253-154 to approve the bill to fund most of the civilian Cabinet agencies, and then voted 206-201 to add about $30 billion for Afghanistan war-spending to the measure.

But the measures did not pass before House Republicans blasted the changes to the border fence.

"The fact that this was buried in a bloated, 3,500-page omnibus speaks volumes about the Democrats' unserious approach on border security and illegal immigration," said House Minority Leader John A. Boehner, Ohio Republican. "Gutting the Secure Fence Act will make our borders less secure, but it's consistent with the pattern of behavior we've seen all year from this majority."

The 2006 Secure Fence Act specifically called for "two layers of reinforced fencing" and listed five specific sections of border where it should be installed. The new spending bill removes the two-tier requirement and the list of locations.

House Democrats said they were just adopting the Senate version, which was backed by a bipartisan group of border-state senators and passed the Senate several times this year.

Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, the Texas Republican who has led the charge to change the 2006 law, said she wants to give Homeland Security more flexibility and wants local officials and landowners to be consulted.

...

Two things are going on here. Hutchison is responded to constituents who feel inconvenienced by border security. But those constituents and the Democrats are both putting their own selfish interest ahead of national security and enforcement of the immigration laws. Democrats are more upset with the war against the Islamic religious bigots because it defers expenditures on their vote buying schemes. They will always put pork ahead of national security.

Michelle Malkin has more on the "gutting" of the border fence. Also see Jules Crittenden on the border battles.

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