Border Security Bill Passes U.S. House

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WASHINGTON -- The U.S. House has approved a spending bill to provide at least $1.2 billion to pay for a fence and security equipment along the U.S.-Mexico border.

The Senate's expected to consider the bill Wednesday.

But the plan would ease mandates on where fencing should be built, how it should look and how much to build. It also requires closer consultation with local authorities along the border.

The pending bill would tweak a 2006 law mandating 700 miles of fencing on the U.S.-Mexico border that Homeland Security has been racing to fulfill.

A provision by Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison would modify the law that requires at least two layers of fence and spells out sites in Texas, California, New Mexico and Arizona.

But Hutchison's measure says the Homeland Security secretary should build fencing on no less than 700 miles of the southwest border where fencing "would be most practical and effective."

It also requires completing 370 miles, "or other mileage" of fencing as the secretary determines is needed by the end of 2008.