Cornyn targets Fast and Furious gun-tracking program

The amendment Cornyn is attempting to tack on to the pending appropriations “minibus” would explicitly prohibit the Justice Department from expending further federal funds on Operation Fast and Furious or programs that involve sending weapons into Mexico.

The program, now under congressional investigation, was run by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives beginning in 2009. It facilitated the export of American weapons to known Mexican drug cartels in order to map gun-running routes. Agents lost track of around 1,500 of the assault rifles, however, and one was linked to the murder of a U.S. border agent. 

The program has drawn political fire from both sides of the aisle: Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) has launched an investigation in his House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform in which Attorney General Eric Holder is soon expected to testify as to what he did or did not know about the program. 

So far there is no indication that Cornyn’s amendment will see a vote, although Appropriations subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science and Related Agencies Chairwoman Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.), who is helping to manage the underlying legislation, expressed interest on Tuesday in helping to find bipartisan agreement.