Thursday, June 2, 2011

WATCH: Giffords Border Security Measure Approved By House Today, Thumbs Down From Fellow AZ Dem Reps. Grijalva and Pastor (updated)

(Updated at 3:10pm to include response from Rep. Grijalva's office.)

In the shadow of the coverage of the Giffords-Kelly post-Shuttle reunion, Rep. Gabrielle Giffords' (D-CD8) office is lauding today's passage of a House Amendment based on their request to improve (a small element of) border securityThe vote was 327-93; however, her two Arizona Democratic colleagues are among that minority of nays.

The Amendment, pushed by Texas Republican Ted Poe in the wake of the shooting of southern Arizona rancher Robert Krentz, would move $10 million around in the budget to permit it to be spent on getting rid of mobile phone dead spots on the U.S. side of the border with Mexico.

Rep. Giffords' office has trumpeted this measure, and today posted a video lauding the amendment's passage.  All of Arizona's Republican representatives voted "aye"; only Reps. Raul Grijalva (D-CD7) and Ed Pastor (D-CD4) voted "nay".  A request was forwarded to their offices for an explanation.

Rep. Grijalva's Communications Director, Adam Sarvana, did respond to share his Congressman's issues with the plan.  He indicated that the two main concerns are that the amendment did not provide for a study of the environmental impacts of any cellphone towers built (and mitigation, if necessary), and that there are "lots of reasons" - in the wake of previous technology-related efforts to control the border - to believe that the "territory won’t be hospitable to throwing cell phone towers at the problem."

The House has not yet voted on the overall bill, which is the 2012 appropriations measure for the Department of Homeland Security.

From Giffords' office:

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