A congressional dispute over spending on border security has Senate Democrats railing at House budget cuts, The Caucus blog of The New York Times reports. The $60 billion in reductions voted last week by the Republican-controlled House would eliminate most of an additional $600 million that Congress approved last summer, and by wide margins, for more staffing and surveillance.
Democratic senators Charles Schumer of New York, Jeff Bingaman of New Mexico, and Jon Tester of Montana described the cuts as “dangerous” in a letter sent Monday to House leaders.
|Texas Rep. Lamar Smith
The senators complained that the government will have to eliminate 870 Border Patrol agent jobs and forego $272 million in surveillance upgrades.
House Republicans countered that President Barack Obama’s Homeland Security department is not properly using the resources it already has.
The Republicans noted that less than half the country’s 2,000-mile border with Mexico is considered operationally secure.
“Even with all the money in the world, the administration would not succeed in securing the border because they are not serious about it,” said Rep. Lamar Smith, the Texas Republican who chairs the House Judiciary Committee.
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