U.S. Sens. Roger Marshall and Jerry Moran voted for a COVID-19 testing mandate for immigrants and against a $3.5 trillion budget resolution expanding the national safety net. (Sherman Smith/Kansas Reflector)
TOPEKA — A large bipartisan majority endorsed a budget amendment offered by U.S. Sen. Roger Marshall to prohibit transportation of migrants crossing the border who hadn’t tested negative for COVID-19.
Marshall and U.S. Sen. Jerry Moran, both Republicans from Kansas, joined the 88-11 majority backing amendment of a Senate budget resolution that would provide funding for coronavirus testing and treatment of immigrants at the border and for quarantining individuals who tested positive for the virus.
Marshall said he sponsored the amendment creating a testing mandate because the administration of President Joe Biden permitted thousands of people with COVID-19 to enter the country. He referenced a Fox News story indicating 7,000 migrants who tested positive for COVID-19 had been released from McAllen, Texas, since February.
“Enough is enough,” Marshall said. “We must adopt commonsense measures for the health and safety of our nation and ensure those entering illegally are not further contributing to the spread of this virus.”
The U.S. Customs and Border Protection has expelled adults and some family units crossing the southern border without necessary documentation, but unaccompanied children and families with small children had been allowed to remain pending legal proceedings.
Marshall said the Biden administration’s “open border” policy was contributing to a humanitarian, national security and health crisis sparked by the pandemic.
The Senate amendment was part of a $3.5 trillion budget resolution adopted 50-49. Moran and Marshall voted against the resolution, which would shield the measure from the Senate’s typical filibuster process.
Policy details and spending provisions of the budget measure will be open for negotiation and debate by the House and Senate. The budget bill would expand Medicare, authorize climate change programs, provide for free pre-kindergarten and community college instruction, shape a paid family and medical leave initiative, and potentially raise taxes.
Moran said the federal government shouldn’t proceed with folly of a strategy of seeking prosperity through taxation and spending.
“Senate Democrats forced a partisan vote on a $3.5 trillion tax and spending spree that will cripple future generations with mountains of debt,” he said. “This bill is a Democrat wish list that will drive up inflation, raise taxes on small businesses and harm everyday Kansans trying to provide for their families and pay their bills, all while adding trillions of dollars to our national debt.
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