Senate rejects GOP effort to add Trump border wall to bipartisan infrastructure deal

The Senate on Wednesday rejected an attempt from GOP Sen. Ron Johnson (Wis.) to tie border wall funding to the bipartisan infrastructure deal. 

Senators voted 48-49 on the GOP proposal to prohibit the cancellation of border wall contracts. It needed 60 votes in order to be added into the roughly $1 trillion infrastructure bill, which senators expect to pass as soon as this weekend. 

Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), who helped negotiate the bipartisan deal, was the only Democrat to vote for the amendment. 

Republicans view the border as a weak point for President Biden. Johnson, ahead of the vote, accused the administration of being in a “complete state of denial regarding the crisis that is on the border.”

“We need to complete the … 285 miles of wall to help secure our borders, that will help secure our homeland, that will help keep Americans safe,” Johnson said. 

Former President Trump’s decision to build a U.S.-Mexico border wall was a perennial flash point during his administration, sparking fierce Democratic backlash. Republicans also bristled over his decision to declare a “national emergency” so he could direct more funding toward the wall, warning that it would set a bad precedent. 

“Most of these funds were never intended for this purpose. … The Biden administration is conducting a comprehensive review of these contracts led by the Department of Defense and Homeland Security,” Sen. Gary Peters (D-Mich.), the chairman of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, said, urging senators to vote against Johnson’s amendment. 

The Biden administration late last month canceled two border wall contracts in the Laredo sector of the U.S.-Mexico border, saying those sections of wall are “not necessary to address any life, safety, environmental, or other remediation requirements.” 

That comes after Biden ordered a review of all resources appropriated for construction, and stopped diverting Defense Department funds for the border wall. The Pentagon and the Department of Homeland Security have both reclaimed border wall funds for other projects. 

Tags Border wall Donald Trump Gary Peters Infrastructure infrastructure deal Joe Biden Joe Manchin Ron Johnson
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