Published: Fri, June 28, 2019
Global News | By Blake Casey

Pelosi Caves, Agrees to Emergency Funding for Border Crisis

Pelosi Caves, Agrees to Emergency Funding for Border Crisis

The Senate passed a $4.6 billion emergency border-funding bill Wednesday, setting up a clash with House Democrats, who passed their own version of the legislation on Tuesday.

The aide said 15 to 20 Democrats had been prepared to vote against the rule before Rules Committee Chairman Jim McGovern withdrew it. Democrats could only afford 18 defections on the rule and have it still pass if all members were present and voting.

The House bill faces an uphill battle to passage in the Senate, in part because the White House has indicated that President Trump would likely veto the spending bill if it reaches his desk.

The House-passed bill contains health and nutrition standards for migrants in custody as well as other controls on US immigration agencies following reports of poor conditions facing children at overcrowded facilities.

Pelosi spoke to Vice President Mike Pence for almost an hour starting at 11:20 a.m. and was briefing her leadership on the discussion Thursday afternoon, according to a senior Democratic leadership aide. "At the end of the day, we have to make sure that the resources needed to protect the children are available", Pelosi wrote in a letter to her caucus earlier Thursday.

The sudden setback for Pelosi came amid heavy pressure from moderate Democratic lawmakers who are seen as most vulnerable at the 2020 US general elections, local analysts said. "It's time for House Democrats to pass the Senate bill, stop delaying funding to deal with this very real humanitarian crisis".

The bill, which passed 305-102, allocates $4.5 billion to alleviate the ongoing border crisis.

During a debate last night, numerous Democratic candidates called for an overhaul of U.S. immigration laws and about 12 of them are set to visit a Florida facility this week. Without the protections that she wants added to the Senate bill, "it would be giving the president a blank check".

Ocasio-Cortez was incensed, writing on Twitter, "Under no circumstances should the House vote for a McConnell-only bill w/ no negotiation with Democrats".

In the House, Democrats held out hope that Pelosi would be able to strike a compromise between the chambers.

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"We are way over budget", Qualia said Thursday during a tour of the agency's largest temporary detention facility, a converted warehouse in McAllen, Texas, holding more than 1,900 people.

President Trump, who is in Japan for a G20 summit and now has to sign the bill into law, gave the result a thumbs-up.

Amid the ensuing outcry, the acting commissioner of the US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agency, John Sanders, said on Tuesday he was resigning. The Senate voted down the House bill.

Mrs Pelosi had maintained the Democratic-controlled House would not concede to the Senate, where Republicans have a majority.

She also said Congress' bill does not provide enough funding for immigration courts, saying that there is now a five-year waiting period for some citizenship-seekers to have their case heard.

The bill provides $2.88bn for the Health and Human Services Department's (HHS) much-criticised programme to house unaccompanied migrant children, allowing the HHS to expand its housing capacity. And it was unclear whether the White House - which favors the Senate bill - would support the new House-backed provisions.

Rep. Adriano Espaillat, Democrat of NY, said it was "legislative malpractice" for the Senate to not pass the House bill.

"They passed their bill, we respect that". He was optimistic about a congressional solution to help US officials at the border who say they are overwhelmed by the surge of migrants. Democrats have also cut funding for Immigration and Customs Enforcement salaries.

Senate Republicans oppose the House bill, too, and were urging House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D, to take up and pass the bipartisan Senate version before Congress leaves town for a 10-day recess as soon as tomorrow.

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