President Obama’s proposed budget would remove a provision to prevent gun-walking operations such as the scandalous "Operation Fast and Furious," which allowed thousands of firearms to be trafficked across the border and into the hands of violent Mexican drug cartels.
In November, the president signed the Justice Department appropriations bill, which included an amendment from Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas), prohibiting federal agencies from facilitating the transfers of operable firearms to individuals known or suspected to be in a drug cartel, unless they monitor the weapon at all times.
The amendment was approved unanimously in the Senate, but it was notably absent from President Obama’s 2013 spending bill, potentially leaving the door open for future gun-walking operations.
According to the Washington Times, the White House simply said the language was "not necessary."
"I understand the president has ‘complete confidence' in Attorney General [Eric] Holder to not carry out further gun-walking operations like Fast and Furious, but 99 U.S. senators voted otherwise," Sen. Cornyn told the Washington Times on Wednesday.
Rep. Darrell Issa, the chair of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, told the Washington Times, "It's bewildering that anyone would seek to strip a legal prohibition on federal agents walking guns, considering the well-known tragic consequences."
Operation Fast and Furious began in 2009. Federal agents allowed more than 2,000 firearms to be purchased by straw buyers and smuggled across the U.S. Mexican border. The intent was to track the weapons to drug cartels. However, the ATF soon lost track of the weapons.
Guns trafficked into Mexico under Operation Fast and Furious were linked to the death of U.S. Border Patrol agent Brian Terry in 2010, setting off a wide-reaching investigation into the Justice Department’s role in facilitating the operation.
The White House did not immediately respond to requests for further comment.