Giffords to Congress: Fund the Dang Border

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Congresswoman Giffords sends news on Congress canceling cash for border security.

WASHINGTON — U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and two colleagues from southwest border states are urging House leaders to restore $701 million in border security funds that were stripped from an appropriations bill last week by the Senate.

“This funding is essential to maintain safe communities on the border and crack down on drug smuggling and other border crime,” the lawmakers wrote in a letter to Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Majority Leader Steny Hoyer. “We strongly urge you to work with the Senate to reinstate this funding.”

Signing the letter with Giffords are U.S. Reps. Ciro D. Rodriguez of Texas and Harry Teague of New Mexico.

Giffords will speak about border security funding tomorrow morning on the floor of the House. Her remarks are expected to take place between 10 and 10:30 a.m., Arizona time.

Giffords first raised this issue on Friday, when she strongly criticized the Senate for stripping the border security funds from the Fiscal Year 2010 Supplemental Appropriations Bill. She called the Senate’s refusal to provide the emergency border security funds “the kind of Washington gridlock that Americans are sick of.”

Giffords repeated that criticism this morning in an interview on Fox News.

The money stripped from the bill by the Senate would have paid for additional Border Patrol agents, surveillance technology and assistance to local law enforcement agencies. A similar bill was approved by the House on July 2.

The failure of the Senate to act was covered locally by KMSB, KGUN, KVOA, the Sierra Vista Herald and Arizona Daily Star.

“I am appalled that Senators would turn their back on Americans who live and work on or near the border,” Giffords said. “These citizens have called on their federal government to send troops, Border Patrol agents and surveillance equipment to stop the drug cartels that are threatening them on their land and in their homes. The first responsibility of government is to protect its citizens from harm and the Senate must agree to restore this essential funding.”

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