That was the vote on the Sessions Amendment. This is a reflection that the country believes in fencing, and lots of it. Passage of the Sessions Amendment and the Kyl/Cornyn Amendment earlier in the day makes it much more likely that the Senate will pass a decent bill, and that a conference bill will be possible.
Given that the House bill mandates 700 miles of fencing and the Senate bill 370 miles of fencing and 500 miles of vehicle barriers, the final bill that emerges from conference will mandate an enormous improvement in border security.
And once the fencing is proven effective –as it has been in San Diego and El Paso– more fencing will follow where it is necessary, and the flow of illegal entrants into the country from across the southern border will diminsh quickly and significantly.
I have long been an advocate of the “fences and carrots” approach, and it looks like this is where the Senate bill is headed. This may yet turn out to be the rare bit of election year legislation that achieves a set of goals good not for one party or the other, but the country.
The 16 “no” votes are all Democrats. This clearly conveys that Democratic Party is simply not serious about security at the borders.
Sure, many Democrats voted for the fencing, but the heart of the Democratic Party is not there. Dick Durbin is the whip! Russ Feingold is the daarling of the “netroots!”
Incredibly, Maria Cantwell of Washington State opposed this basic test of seriousness on national security.
The list of senators refusing to vote for this measure: