From 44 at The Washington Post:
The Senate turned back an effort by Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) Thursday to put 6,000 more security troops on the Mexican border, as Democrats instead suggested that President Obama’s proposal for an additional deployment of a temporary, 1,200-person force was sufficient for now.
The McCain measure, which needed 60 votes to be considered approved, fell short on a 51-46 vote as part of the Senate’s broader consideration of a $59 billion spending bill that funds the troop surge into Afghanistan and other emergency measures. The border-security battle has become the most politically contentious issue surrounding what has otherwise become a routine passage of the war supplemental bill.
Sensing the shifting ground, Obama proposed Tuesday a plan that would increase funding by $500 million and temporarily send 1,200 members of the National Guard to the border to help shore up the Border Patrol’s efforts to clamp down on illegal immigrants and on security developments with Mexican drug cartels.
“While it’s important to have additional resources there, even on a temporary basis, even on a limited basis, there’s a whole lot more that we need to do. We need permanent solutions, not temporary solutions,” Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas), a member of GOP leadership and co-sponsor of McCain’s amendment, told reporters Wednesday.
Feelings toward Obama remained publicly raw after he visited the Senate Republican Conference, a 75-minute, closed-door huddle which provoked agitated Republicans to complain to reporters afterward about the president’s efforts at bipartisanship. In particular, McCain made note Wednesday, during a speech on the Senate floor, that Obama’s aides announced his new border plan 30 minutes after he left the GOP meeting and yet did not tell the senators what he was about to do.
“You’ve got to laugh, in the spirit of bipartisanship,” McCain said.
Sen. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.), the chamber’s lone Latino senator, criticized the McCain plan as “militarizing the border” and the “definition of insanity,” because it continued the previous efforts at building up a troop presence even as the flow of illegal immigrants continued to flow in from Mexico. “It’s a recipe for failure,” Menendez said, arguing instead for a comprehensive immigration reform plan backed by Obama.