WASHINGTON – The Senate will make another stab at increasing spending for border security before closing down for its monthlong summer recess at the end of this week.
Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., is going to try to push through a bill that provides an additional $600 million for the border. That includes $176 million to hire 1,500 more officers to form a strike force to be deployed in critical areas along the border, his office said Wednesday.
The House passed a measure with $701 million for border security, before it left for its recess last week. The White House has sought the additional funding, and, with illegal immigration shaping up as a major issue in the fall election, both parties have pressed for action to restore some semblance of order to the country's southern border.
It's unclear whether Schumer's proposal will gain the Republican support needed to act on it before the Senate recesses. Republicans have proposed similar legislation but would pay for it by taking unused money from the Obama administration's economic stimulus program, an idea unacceptable to Democrats.
Schumer would pay for his measure by raising fees on visas for temporary skilled workers sent to the United States by Indian companies.
The House is set to return for a special session next week to vote on a $26 billion package the Senate passed Wednesday to help states with their budget crises and protect the jobs of tens of thousands of teachers. That would also give the House an opportunity to take up the border security issue if the Senate acts this week.