More Democrat shenanigans over the border bill. It never rains but it pours, I guess. A lead item on Politico again, from this afternoon, is saying the Democrat Caucus is probably not going to get all their members on board without changes to the 2008 law. Chief among the defectors is probably Mary Landrieu (D-LA), who chairs the Appropriations Subcommittee on Homeland Security, and who is also in the electoral fight-of-her-life in November. Ms. Landireu has said she opposes the Mikulski bill due to a lack of “coordinating language” between the government agencies who will be funded by it and because of a “lack of faith” in the State Department to effectively spend their share to combat gang violence in Central America, the latter sure to put a further twist in John Kerry’s lacy knickers. Landrieu did not mention any language changes in the 2008 law. It’s probably significant she opposes the bill because of her Subcommittee chairmanship and the fact DHS is supposed to get about a third of the total– $1.1bln– and nearly half of the money earmarked to the border crisis.
Less certain– he has not made a final decision to back or oppose– but potentially more serious, is Joe Manchin (D-WV), who seems to lean against the bill due to the lack of language changes for the Trafficking law.
“You know, you’ve got to look at the 2008 law,” Manchin said Thursday[…]. “You can’t leave the impression to people in these countries that they can just send them and … everything is fine. You just can’t do that.“
A centrist Republican, Susan Collins of Maine, whom the Democrats will likely need to overcome a filibuster by conservative Republicans, calls the bill “a real dilemma.”
“We need some additional funding because the border patrol is going to run out of funds in a month’s time,” said Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine). “However, it’s very disappointing that they did not include any kind of reforms that will prevent this from continuing to happen.”
Additionally, Republican moderate Lisa Murkowski of Alaska agrees the bill needs the changes to the 2008 law, and further questions the source of the funding. Senate Republicans who are the primary drivers of Immigration reform in the R caucus– Jeff Flake (R-AZ) and Lindsey Graham (R-SC)– have dismissed the bill in its entirety due to the lack of the language changes.
This new data probably changes the calculus for the passage of the bill as a whole, as well as the floor management of the deal in the House. If Landrieu, who is a definite no, and Manchin, Collins and Murkowski, who are maybes, all vote against, Harry Reid probably can’t move the Mikulski bill against a Republican filibuster. That puts the Dems in a position of swallowing changes they don’t like to get something passed, or leaving DHS holding tens of thousands of unaccompanied children with no money to feed them on their watch. This would be especially ugly if the House manages to get a bill passed. I suppose, by now, I should be used to last-minute brinksmanship in the Congress, but this one is going down to the wire.