GOP Senators Claim Immigration Bill’s Revenue Boost Will Pay for New Border Security

Fred Lucas and Curtis Houck | June 24, 2013 | 4:26pm EDT
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Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) (AP Photo)

( – Republican senators backing the immigration reform package heralded revenue the newly legalized immigrants would produce, relying on Congressional Budget Office scoring that does not include the border security measure expected to be in the final Senate bill.

The amendment by Republican Sens. Bob Corker of Tennessee and John Hoeven of North Dakota would add another 20,000 Border Patrol agents – nearly doubling the size of the force, finishing a 700-mile fence and spending $4 billion on security technology along the border.

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The new border security would be paid for by the new revenue, Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) told Fox News.

During an interview Friday on Fox News, McCain said the new revenue would pay for the increased border security. He was asked by Jon Scott of Fox News, “Can we afford 20,000 more border patrol agents?”

McCain responded, “Here’s why we can, and that’s because according to the Congressional Budget Office, over the next 20 years we’re going to have $700 billion in additional revenue as a result of the passage of this legislation because of the jobs that it creates and the increase in our gross domestic product. So we can afford it.”

Corker on Sunday, told CBS’s “Face the Nation” that he believed the border security measures would make the legislation more likely to pass the Senate with overwhelming support.

“All those have to be in place, Bob, prior to green card,” he said.

“But here's what I would say, to those people who tout themselves as fiscal conservatives – and I'll put my credentials up against anybody – to be able to pass a bill that spends $46 billion on border security but know that over a – over a 10-year period – but know that you're going to have a return of $197 billion without raising anybody's taxes, that will reduce our deficit ought to also entice people to this bill,” Corker said.

The CBO report released last week projects that if the Senate bill is enacted into law, it would help reduce the federal budget deficit by $197 billion by 2023 and $700 billion in new revenue by 2033.

“CBO and the staff of the Joint Committee on Taxation (JCT) estimate that enacting S. 744 would generate changes in direct spending and revenues that would decrease federal budget deficits by $197 billion over the 2014–2023 period,” the CBO report said.

“The CBO also estimates that implementing the legislation would result in net discretionary costs of $22 billion over the 2014–2023 period, assuming appropriation of the amounts authorized or otherwise needed to implement the legislation. Combining those figures would lead to a net savings of about $175 billion over the 2014–2023 period from enacting S. 744,” the report said.

The report continued projecting revenue growth from 2024 to 2033.

“The additional amount of federal direct spending stemming from enactment of S. 744 would grow after 2023 as more people became eligible for federal benefits as a result of the bill,” the report said. “CBO estimates that the net increase in the U.S. population under S. 744 would total about 16 million by 2033. The additional amount of federal revenues owing to the legislation also would increase after 2023.

“On balance, CBO and JCT estimate that those changes in direct spending and revenues would decrease federal budget deficits by about $700 billion (or 0.2 percent of Gross Domestic Product) over the 2024–2033 period. In addition, the legislation would have a net discretionary cost of $20 billion to $25 billion over the 2024–2033 period, assuming appropriation of the necessary amounts,” it added.

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