On Friday’s NOW, the panel discussed the state of the immigration reform bill slowly making its way through the senate. On Thursday, Republican Senators Bob Corker and John Hoeven reached a deal with the bipartisan Gang of Eight on border security that could secure its passage in the Senate, though the bill’s chances in the House remain uncertain.
The so-called “Border Surge” increases security spending from the original $6.5 billion in the Gang of Eight bill to an eye-popping $30 billion. It would complete the 700 mile border fence, double the number of border agents and utilize a range of drones, sensors and thermal imaging cameras, though the efficacy of such measures is very much in dispute.
Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT) signaled Friday that the Senate Judiciary Committee would reluctantly support the amendment, despite its reading “like a Christmas wish list for Halliburton.”
I am sure there are federal contracting firms high-fiving at the prospect of all of the spending demanded by Senate Republicans in this amendment. The litany of expensive services, technology, and hardware mandated by this package is combined with an inexplicable waiver of many normal contracting rules. This is a potential recipe for waste, fraud and abuse. It is astounding to me how far in the past the hard lessons we learned in Iraq appear to be.
Leahy went on to call the amendment “one of many tough choices necessary to continue making progress toward passage of this crucial bill.”