WASHINGTON — All 10 Georgia Republicans serving in the U.S. House, as well as one of the state’s centrist Democrats, backed a government spending bill on Thursday that would set aside $1.6 billion to build a wall on the southern border.
The lawmakers’ support helped send the $790 billion national security-focused spending measure to the Senate, where it is expected to be made over, if it can advance at all. Sanford Bishop of Albany was one of only five Democrats to cross party lines and support the legislation.
“I voted in support of this legislation due to the needs of our veterans and service members,” Bishop said.
The bill would fund military installations in Georgia and elsewhere, veterans’ health benefits and the maintenance of the country’s nuclear fleet for the budget year that begins on Oct. 1. It would also set aside $50 million for the Savannah port, as well as seed money for initial construction on President Donald Trump’s signature border wall with Mexico.
Democrats had pushed for a standalone vote on the funding for the wall in an attempt to force Republicans into a tough vote, but GOP leaders blocked that request. Instead, Georgia’s Republicans flaunted their votes on the issue.
“I have had the opportunity to see the dire situation at the Southwest border firsthand and I understand the threats coming through the border into our nation,” said Buddy Carter, R-Pooler. “This legislation provides the resources necessary to begin construction on a Southern border wall to protect Americans from the threats of illegal immigration.”
The Senate is not expected to pass the legislation before it leaves for its August recess. Democrats there have vowed to filibuster any spending bills that fund Trump’s border wall.
Here’s how Georgia’s lawmakers voted:
Republicans — Buddy Carter, Drew Ferguson, Karen Handel, Rob Woodall, Austin Scott, Doug Collins, Jody Hice, Barry Loudermilk, Rick Allen, Tom Graves
Democrats — Sanford Bishop
Republicans — None
Democrats — Hank Johnson, John Lewis, David Scott