Arizona Daily Star: McSally, other Congress members tour border
BISBEE — Nearly two dozen Congress members toured an area between Nogales and Douglas Saturday, and several said later they are confident a billion-dollar-a-year bill aimed at securing the border will pass.
The tour included discussions with local politicians, ranchers and law enforcement agents, U.S. Customs and Border Protection Commissioner Gil Kerlikowske, and Chief of the Border Patrol Michael Fisher.
The bill’s author, Texas Republican Rep. Michael McCaul, said he is confident it will easily pass in the House despite criticism from Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson, the Border Patrol union and some congressional Democrats.
“This will be the strongest-ever border bill ever passed by Congress,” McCaul said proudly, saying he hopes the House will start debating the bill on Wednesday. He spoke at a news conference before a backdrop of several cattle grazing on Bisbee rancher John Ladd‘s 14,000-acre property.
Johnson said last week that the Republican-led proposal is “unworkable” and would make the border less secure.
McCaul brushed aside the criticism. “We gave the department time to get this done and they have not gotten the job done,” he said. “The reason why they don’t like my bill and the unions don’t like my bills is that we tell them how to get it done.”
McCaul predicted that opposition from the Border Patrol union would only galvanize support for his bill.
Southern Arizona Republican Congresswoman Martha McSally said the legislation would give officials the tools they need to secure the border.
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