Bad news: It’s not for America, but for Mexico and Central America.
The Merida Initiative, which I have blogged about extensively (see here), passed earlier today by a 311-106 margin.
Via CQ Politics:
The bill would authorize $595 million for fiscal 2008, $645 million for fiscal 2009 and $350 million for fiscal 2010.
The Senate supplemental would provide $450 million for fiscal 2008; the House version would include $461.5 million. The administration had requested $550 million.
Members cited Mexico’s increasingly violent drug war, which has taken some 6,000 lives in the last two years, including recent assassinations of two top police officials.
“Mexico is burning,” said Rep. Brian P. Bilbray , R-Calif., who represents an area north of San Diego. “We are not taking on a war on drugs down at the border, we are taking on the battle against narcoterrorism.”
The bill would authorize $1.1 billion for Mexico, $405 million for Central America and $73.5 million for Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives programs that target the smuggling of guns into Mexico from the United States.
Several Texas Republicans said the bill should have included programs to address illegal immigration and the drug trade on the domestic side.
“It is inexcusable, it is intolerable to send one dime to the Mexican government when they can afford to pay for this equipment themselves,” said John Culberson , R-Texas. “But more importantly, our southern border is not secure.”
Our fence has yet to be completed, but we’ll be providing helicopters, surveillance equipment, computer infrastructure, expansion of intelligence databases, anti-corruption initiatives, human rights education and training, and anti-money laundering program to our southern neighbors.
Meanwhile, there’s a call to fast track funding for our southern border enforcement.
Don’t hold your breath.
Here’s the roll call vote.