[Guest post by DRJ]
Mickey Kaus says the spending bill may gut funding for the border fence:
“Congress’ Fence-Gutting: Get the old gang back together one more time? Provisions buried in the huge omnibus spending bill about to pass Congress gut the program to build a border fence, according to Republicans–and they appear to have a point:
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.”
Kaus specifically targets Texas’ Senator Hutchison:
“Defenders of the changes (i.e. Sen. Hutchison of Texas) argue that the Department of Homeland Security should have discretion to “utilize limited resources.” But the whole problem is that nobody trusts President Bush’s Department of Homeland Security. Or anybody’s Department of Homeland Security, for that matter. Whoever is president, DHS will always have a bureaucratic bias toward expanding its budget by employing more DHS personnel–e.g. border patrol agents–and less cheap, inanimate fencing. They can’t be expected to stand up to the businesses and local interests and ACLU lawyers and diplomats who hate the fence and will always lobby against it.”
There has been significant opposition on the Texas border regarding the fence, some of it from landowners who need access to the Rio Grande water and others who oppose it as unrealistic, wasteful, or anti-Hispanic. If Kaus’ information is correct, I’m sure this has something to do with these provisions.
In addition, it’s well-known that Hutchison is considering a run for Texas Governor. I guess she thinks Hispanic votes are key to her election. She may be right but I know many Texas votes she’s lost because of her votes on immigration issues.