Kyrsten Sinema (I-AZ) and Jon Tester (D-MT) wrote an amendment to the Omnibus Spending bill that allowed centrist Democrats to vote against Mike Lee's amendment attempting to continue Title 42 (or, block funds for ending it, anyway). The difference seems to be they included some funds for border security and migrant care.

How did this amendment manage to be sufficiently unpopular with Republicans that it was guaranteed to not get their votes? Mike Lee's amendment was defeated 47-50 with only Democrats voting against it, while the Sinema/Tester amendment failed 10-87. I would have expected extra funds for border security to be popular with the Trump wing, at least, which is backing Title 42.

1 Answer 1


Sen. Lee in the floor debate on the amendment expressed frustration about the process. He also argued that it didn't actually do what the proponents stated that it did, and didn't do anything to actually solve the border crisis.

Sen. Lee: This amendment is a ruse designed to provide political cover to a small handful of people who recognize the crisis on the border and want to appear to be doing something about it but it doesn't. It proposes tens of billions of dollars to simply manage the border crisis, not stop it. It doesn't do anything to stop fentanyl or actually secure our border. The sponsors will tell you that their amendment prohibits the repeal of Title 42 but that is a lie. It only prohibits DHS funding to repeal Title 42 when the Surgeon General, who is housed in HHS, has the authority to do so. And how would it manage this crisis? Well, it would do so by funding the processing of people coming into this country faster than they're currently being processed, and more costly lawsuits await against our enforcement policies. I strongly encourage my colleagues to oppose this amendment, which is a ruse. It doesn't do what it purports to do and it distracts from the crisis unfolding on our Southern border.

You can view the video and read the full transcript of the debate on C-SPAN. Sen. Leahy as President Pro Tempore opens debate on the amendment at time code 3:27:50, and is followed by Sen. Sinema and Sen. Tester speaking in favor who are then followed by Sen. Lee speaking against.

You can see the full roll call vote on the Senate website here. Notably the only Republican Senator to vote for it was Sen. Thom Tillis, who was working closely with Sen. Sinema earlier in the month on bipartisan legislation concerning both Title 42 and the legal status of Dreamers, and probably chose to vote for it to continue the effort.

My opinion is that voting against this amendment offered Republicans in the Senate much the same type of political cover as voting for it offered centrist Democrats. Many of them were probably happy to have something to vote against to prove to their colleagues in the House (as well as any potential primary challengers) that they fought the good fight in opposing the "tax and spend liberal agenda".

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .