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Senate Diverts Iraq Funds to U.S.-Mexico Border

Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-TN), Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) and Sens. Arlen Specter (R-PA) and Patrick Leahy (D-VT) talk with reporters outside the West Wing of the White House.
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Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-TN), Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) and Sens. Arlen Specter (R-PA) and Patrick Leahy (D-VT) talk with reporters outside the West Wing of the White House.

The Senate votes to strip nearly $2 billion from emergency funding for the war in Iraq, using the money instead to bolster security along the U.S.-Mexico border. Democrats criticized the Republican move to cut nearly three percent of the $72 billion meant mainly for the war in Iraq.

New Hamshire Republican Judd Gregg, who sponsored the amendment shifting military money to the U.S. border, said the Pentagon will decide where the funds should be cut. Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) said the vote for border security money may help move four or five Republicans into the ranks of those who support wider immigration legislation.

Republican and Democratic senators have spent weeks talking about the need for better border security as they've debated an immigration overhaul. So there was no argument about making a down payment of $1.9 billion on border security as part of a $106 billion dollar supplemental spending bill. The dispute was over how to pay for it.

Copyright 2022 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

David Welna is NPR's national security correspondent.