Sen. David Perdue (R-Ga.) discusses immigration legislation with Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), left, and President Donald Trump at the White House on Aug. 2, 2017. (Doug Mills/The New York Times)
Photo: DOUG MILLS/NYT
Photo: DOUG MILLS/NYT

Border security compromise splits Georgia lawmakers

The spending deal, which would set aside nearly $1.4 billion for President Donald Trump’s border wall and stave off another government shutdown through September, prompted “yes” votes from four Georgia Republicans. 

One of the more notable votes in favor came from Republican U.S. Sen. David Perdue, an immigration hawk who has often sought to pull his White House ally to the right

Sen. David Perdue (R-Ga.) discusses the Raise Act, immigration legislation he and Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), left, are sponsoring, with President Donald Trump at the White House in Washington, Aug. 2, 2017. The bill would overhaul decades of immigration policy by replacing a system that favors family ties in deciding who can move to the United States legally with merit-based preferences based on skills and employability. (Doug Mills/The New York Times)
Photo: DOUG MILLS/NYT

Perdue visited the Texas border earlier this week and said his experience there underscored the need for additional spending on barriers and other resources. 

"This bipartisan package is a step in the right direction and allows President Trump to better secure the most concerning areas along our southern border," said Perdue, who is running for reelection in 2020.

All five of the state’s Democrats opted to support the plan, bucking some House progressives who rejected the compromise. 

Seven Georgia Republicans voted against the compromise. Most said it did not include enough money for the wall, and others griped about the lack of money for Hurricane Michael cleanup. 

“Our nation is facing a very real crisis, and this bill does not go far enough to secure our border and stop the influx of illegal immigration and deadly drugs that are pouring into our country, nor does it provide the much needed disaster assistance for Georgia farmers who were devastated by Hurricane Michael last October,” said Evans Republican Rick Allen. 

Several opponents also complained about the condensed timeframe under which the 1,000-plus-page bill was considered. Lawmakers voted on the compromise less than 24 hours after the bill text was released. 

Tom Graves of Ranger was Georgia’s only representative on the border negotiating committee. He was also the only member of the 17-member panel who refused to sign off on the legislation before it was released. 

“I hoped that this would be a transparent process, with vigorous debate and an outcome that improved the security of our country. Instead, we discovered that Democrats had already written a bill before our first meeting,” Graves said. 

The measure ultimately passed the House 300 to 128, hours after it cruised through the Senate 83 to 16. Trump was expected to sign the legislation, as well as take other executive actions that would allow him to circumvent Congress for additional wall money. 

The announcement prompted loud criticism from many Democrats, including Lithonia U.S. Rep. Hank Johnson. 

“It’s a sad day for the nation when one man can falsely claim there is a national emergency simply to untangle himself from a political problem of his own making,” he said. 


How lawmakers voted: 

YES

Republicans: U.S. Sens. Johnny Isakson and David Perdue. U.S. Reps. Drew Ferguson of West Point and Rob Woodall of Lawrenceville

Democrats: U.S. Reps. Sanford Bishop of Albany; Hank Johnson of Lithonia; John Lewis of Atlanta; David Scott of Atlanta

NO

Republicans: U.S. Reps. Buddy Carter of Pooler; Austin Scott of Tifton; Doug Collins of Gainesville; Jody Hice of Monroe; Barry Loudermilk of Cassville; Rick Allen of Evans; Tom Graves of Ranger


Read more: 

» Ga. lawmakers fume after Michael money omitted from spending deal

» Savannah port boosters: Fed funding safe under national emergency 

» Search for wall funds could hit Georgia projects

» Ga. Republicans approach emerging border deal with caution

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