Elon Musk engaged with Utah Sen. Mike Lee and other senators Thursday on Twitter over proposed amendments to the massive Senate spending bill involving border security.
Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, I-Ariz., and Sen. Jon Tester, D-Mont., offered an amendment to the bill that would extend Title 42, a pandemic-era border policy, until a plan was in place to handle a surge of illegal border crossings and pour billions of dollars toward security officials, immigration judges and processing centers, among other security initiatives.
Lee, a Republican, opposed the proposal on the Senate floor, calling it a “ruse” to provide political cover and saying it doesn’t do what it purports to do, adding it distracts from the crisis on the southern border.
“An amendment by Sens Sinema & Tester is designed to ensure a porous border. A wolf in sheep’s clothing to mislead the American people to believe Dems are doing something to secure our borders. It merely provides them cover to vote against my extension of Title 42 protections,” Lee tweeted.
“Yes,” Lee replied to Musk, Sinema and Tester.
On the Senate floor, Lee said the Sinema-Tester proposal expends tens of billions of dollars to manage but not stop the border crisis. It doesn’t stop the flow of fentanyl or secure the border, he said.
“The sponsors will tell you that it prohibits the repeal of Title 42, but that is a lie,” Lee said.
That claim is false. Our amendment was a good-faith effort to take proposals that both Democrats and Republicans claim they support. Both parties have failed to secure our southern border and fix our broken immigration system. We need to get serious about solving this problem.— Senator Jon Tester (@SenatorTester) December 22, 2022
But Tester tweeted that Lee’s claim is false.
“Our amendment was a good-faith effort to take proposals that both Democrats and Republicans claim they support. Both parties have failed to secure our southern border and fix our broken immigration system. We need to get serious about solving this problem,” he wrote.
Sinema wrote in a tweet that the amendment “keeps Title 42 until a permanent plan is in place, boosts desperately needed funding for border security, invests in our border agents and officers, and helps stop the flow of dangerous drugs.”
The amendment ultimately failed 87-10.
But shouldn’t there be some funding in this bill to secure US borders, given that we are spending tens of billions to secure the borders of other countries?— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) December 22, 2022
“But shouldn’t there be some funding in this bill to secure US borders, given that we are spending tens of billions to secure the borders of other countries?” Musk tweeted.
Tester replied, “Absolutely and there is money in our amendment to secure the southern border. Senator Lee’s amendment included zero dollars for border security. Ours included more than $8 billion for things like physical barriers and tech.”
Earlier Thursday before engaging with the senators, Musk tweeted, “What utter insanity that tens of billions are being spent for border security of other countries, but none for ours!!”
Lee’s own amendment Thursday to maintain Title 42 failed 50-47. The policy, he said, is the only sustained control the government has over illegal immigration, noting 2.7 million undocumented immigrants have arrived at the border with Mexico this year.
“We have no business passing this bill unless this is in here,” he said on the Senate floor.
The Biden administration intended to end Title 42 this week but the Supreme Court put a temporary hold on a lower court ruling that would have ended the policy. The stay came after 19 states petitioned the court through an emergency appeal to keep the policy in place.