By Corinne Murdock
Senators Mark Kelly (D-AZ) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) both voted against an amendment prohibiting the cancellation of the border wall contracts back in February. Yet, both senators have since lamented President Joe Biden’s policymaking for initiating the border crisis and promptly neglecting it. They went so far as to say that the federal government failed Arizona. Sinema even urged the Biden Administration to take “bold action.”
Not only would the amendment have prohibited the cancellation of contracts – it would have prevented the Biden Administration from assuming the penalties for cancelling the contracts, and repurpose the wall-building funds for paying off the penalties. Senator Ron Johnson (R-WI) introduced the amendment, numbered 542. The Senate split on the vote, 50-50.
“To establish a deficit-neutral reserve fund relating to protecting American taxpayers and the border, which may include prohibiting the cancellation of contracts for physical barriers and other border security measures for which funds already have been obligated and for which penalties will be incurred in the case of such cancellation and prohibiting the use of funds for payment of such penalties,” reads the amendment’s summary.
In total, the legislation saw nearly 900 amendments introduced.
Kelly has consistently been against a border wall since his campaign. In a debate last October with former Republican Senator Martha McSally, Kelly called border walls “17th-century solutions for 21st-century problems.” Kelly instead called for an investment into more technology and border patrol agents.
Although Kelly didn’t specify what he meant by technology, it is likely he was referring to an expansion of current technologies – such as cameras, radars, imagers, and sensors.
Similarly to Kelly, Sinema has said that increasing the amount of border patrol agents was a more “practical, realistic solution.” In the same interview, Sinema acknowledged the importance of border walls, but said they weren’t enough.
During her campaign trail, Sinema said that immigration and securing the border were her top priorities. She repeatedly called the border wall a “waste of taxpayer money.”
Not long after she was elected, Sinema abstained her vote when it came to Trump’s proposed spending plan totaling $5 billion for a wall.
As of April, U.S. Customs and Border Protection has tracked nearly 180,000 enforcement encounters. Those numbers mark an unprecedented surge in illegal border crossings over the last few administrations.
Corinne Murdock is a contributing reporter for AZ Free News. In her free time, she works on her books and podcasts. Follow her on Twitter, @CorinneMurdock or email tips to firstname.lastname@example.org.