Democrats up for re-election are none to pleased with the Senate's decision to vote down a supplemental bill that would provide funding for the Iraq/Afghanistan War, relief for Haiti, aid for first responders, and border security among other things.
Border communities would've benefitted as $701 million would have helped in hiring Border Patrol, and Customs agents. Naturally our very own Henry Cuellar, Chairman of the House Homeland Security Subcommittee, had something to say.
“We are at a critical juncture in our nation’s border and homeland security. That’s why earlier this July, the House passed over $701 million in emergency southern border funding as part of the 2010 Supplemental Bill. Late this week, the Senate decided not to proceed in approving this emergency border funding, despite the fact that southern border states would have benefited greatly from these critical funds. This funding was slated to hire over 1,200 additional Border Patrol agents, in addition to providing funds for more hires at Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Over $200 million would have supported the Department of Justice in ramping up prosecutorial and investigative resources to support southern border states. Additionally, the President had requested such funding to help provide immediate relief to our federal law enforcement officials at the border. For these reasons, I will continue to fight for this vitally important funding, especially following the President’s decision to deploy 1,200 National Guard to the U.S. Mexico Border. While we have made great strides to further secure our nation’s northern and southern borders, we cannot abandon those opportunities to do even more. As violence persists across the Rio Grande, we cannot pause in our ability to detect, deter and disrupt the illegal activity which occurs as a result. Our communities in Texas understand the stakes we face, and I will not stop in our shared effort to do everything we can in response.”
Two things: Why does Henry Cuellar consider himself a fiscal conservative, i.e. Blue Dog, and why are the Iraq and Afghanistan Wars stilled funded through emergency supplemental bills? When I talked to him last month he stated that Congress wanted "to move away from that" -- including war funding in supplemental bills. But as time has passed, it seems that not a lot has changed since W. left office.
The Senate didn't pass the bill because of all the add-ons the House suggested, which is everything else apart from war funding. The Senate's vote is to be expected in a time when the issue of main concern is the economy. People want to see Congress tighten its belt. But now that we really need emergency funding for border enforcement, it's not so easily available.
Of course Cuellar wasn't thinking of that when he was voting with Republicans and supporting conservative issues when he landed in Washington. He went along to get along just so that he would benefit. The supposed "War on Terror" trumped any sense of fiscal conservatism he purported to uphold. His fiscally prudent image was at odds with his voting record.
In his released statement he only mentions the funding that would go to finance border security, as if the Senate passed on securing less than $1 billion for security measures. The actual figure for the bill is way more than that and I would think that he would be more candid about it. But that's the life of a politician. You play the game and it comes back to bite you in the ass.
The spending that should be occurring right now actually took place after Clinton left office. And we can thank Henry for that. Whether he would admit that is anyone's guess. In the end Laredo doesn't get what it wanted and we learn that Cuellar is not the most conservative of them all.
UPDATE: Mayor Salinas give Pro8news his take.