I suppose it was only a matter of time
before Bush decides to waste more of our money.
The White House said the money would pay for the "first 1,000 of 6,000 new Border Patrol agents that will be deployed in the next two years," as well as the temporary deployment of up to 6,000 National Guard troops to states along the Mexican border. The request includes funds for new fencing and other barriers as well as two new unmanned surveillance aircraft and five helicopters to curb illegal immigration.
There are plenty of excellent immigration diaries up and about, so I won't bother with that aspect of the story. I'm more interested in the slight wedge
Bush seems hell-bent on driving into the Republican party. From Wisconsin Rep Sensenbrenner:
He basically turned his back on provisions of the House-passed bill, a lot of which we were requested to put in the bill by the White House," Sensenbrenner, R-Wis., angrily told reporters in a conference call. "That was last fall when we were drafting the bill, and now the president appears not to be interested in it at all.
Out of everything that could possibly be a deal-breaker for partisan loyalty--gay marriage, reckless spending, the Iraqi war, Medicare D, there's so much more I'm going to stop there--it might end up being immigration that hurts them the most.
Sensenbrenner did not attend a closed-door meeting between Bush political adviser Karl Rove and House Republicans, but said that some members complained to him that Rove didn't stay around for many questions or hear what lawmakers had to say.
"The overwhelming majority of those that I talked to who were at the conference believe that he dissed the House Republicans," Sensenbrenner said.
Welcome to our world, Rep Sensenbrenner; a world filled with disses to our rights, our freedoms, our livelihoods. It's about time some of Bush's party members felt the sting, however small and inconsequential it may prove to be in the long run.
Back to Bush's request:
Senate leaders have said they hope for passage of the controversial legislation by next week. It includes measures to tighten control over the borders, create a new guest worker program and offer a path to citizenship for millions of illegal immigrants already in the country. Prospects for final congressional passage this year are highly uncertain, given the strong opposition among Republicans to Bush's proposals concerning citizenship.
Bush's funding request came with a pledge that it would not lead to a short-term increase in the deficit. The White House said it would off-set the spending by "delaying certain less-urgent military procurement efforts" to future spending bills.
"delaying certain less-urgent military procurement efforts"... I guess that means no supplies and armor for our troops giving their lives to satiate the bloodlust of our madman dictator.
Did you catch that, NSA?
The important thing we need be concerned about is that many Republicans are feeling snubbed and irritated with Bush's immigration proposals. I can only imagine that Bush is trying to court progressives by acting like he gives a shit about us poor folk. Thankfully it won't work, but the effort is still galling.
Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., estimated the cost at roughly $3.2 million per mile, more than $900 million for 300 miles. He said the fence would send "a signal that open-border days are over."
But Sen. Edward Kennedy, D-Mass., said the cost would be much higher, while Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., predicted the fencing would be a "down payment" on a fence stretching the length of the border.
The fence sends a signal, all right. It will show the world that we are committed to a policy of reckless spending and asinine proposals. Thankfully, we can count on our good representatives to fight this nonsense and force Bush and Republicans to look into reforming immigration policy, rather than throwing billions into a highly impractical series of fences, guards, and unmanned airplanes.
All Republicans and more than half the Senate's Democrats supported the proposal.
I guess not.