Federal officials say they desperately need emergency aid to help manage the humanitarian crisis at the southwestern border.
Both the Senate and the House have put forward their own versions of legislation that would allocate about $4.6 billion to the border, and both chambers are expected to vote as early as today.
Donald Trump has already threatened a veto of any House bill before it has even been finalized, trying to force Democrats’ hand into voting for the Senate version of the bill which gives him more of what he wants. White House threatens veto of House border bill:
The veto threat signals a difficult path ahead for both the House and Senate to reach an agreement by the end of the week before lawmakers depart for the July 4 recess.
The New York Times reports,The House and Senate Have Separate Plans for Border Aid. Here’s What’s Different.
[I]t remains unclear how those bills will be reconciled. Here are the differences in how the House and Senate have proposed allocating the money, based on summaries provided by the chambers’ appropriations committees.
Under pressure, House leaders attached more policy strings.
In an amendment released early Tuesday, Democrats plan to add language that would require Customs and Border Protection to establish plans and protocols to deliver medical care at border shelters, improve nutrition and hygiene, and train personnel to ensure the health and safety of children and adults in custody.
Another new provision would require the secretary of health and human services to specify which requirements are being temporarily waived to deal with any sudden influx of migrants. That amendment would limit the detention-center stay of any unaccompanied child to 90 days unless written notification is submitted to Congress attesting that no other facilities are available.
Democrats also intend to add new requirements for translators at Customs and Border Protection, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, and Citizenship and Immigration Services.
The Senate gives additional money to the Defense Department.
Senate lawmakers designated $145 million for the operation and maintenance accounts of the Army, the Marine Corps, the Army National Guard and the Air Force.
The House legislation does not allocate any money to the Defense Department.
The House outlines stricter oversight guidelines on migrant care.
House lawmakers included far more restrictions in their legislation. The bill requires the Department of Health and Human Services to report to Congress within 24 hours if an unaccompanied migrant child dies in government custody. The House bill also limits the department’s ability to modify the operational orders for a housing facility.
The Senate bill offers department leadership more flexibility. The Senate would require the department to allow congressional visits to facilities housing unaccompanied children with two days’ notice. The House bill allows for visits without any advance notice.
The House bill includes language that allows officials from the Department of Health and Human Services to provide direct representation for unaccompanied children at the border, expanding upon the full extent of legal services available for them.
The Senate allocates more funds for agency staff members within the Department of Homeland Security.
Senate lawmakers included additional money for Immigrations and Customs Enforcement officers. Those funds, including $61 million in back pay and $3.7 million in temporary duty and overtime pay, were not in the House measure.
The House measure would allocate $200 million to set up a facility, based on a proposal from the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, that would allow for the processing and care of migrant families and children, offer food and shelter and handle asylum claims.
House lawmakers declined to allow staff members and equipment from the Department of Homeland Security to be sent to the border without reimbursement from Customs and Border Protection or ICE. Instead, they included a provision requiring the establishment of guidance for the Migrant Protection Protocols program.
The House also included $5.2 million more than the Senate for the personnel office within ICE to conduct background investigations and inspect facilities under its jurisdiction, raising the office’s allocation to $10.2 million. And the House doubled the $30 million that the Senate would allocate to the Federal Emergency Management Agency to assist local nonprofits and jurisdictions.
The House stops the Trump administration from reprogramming some State Department funds.
The House legislation protects funding already set aside in previous spending bills to address the root causes of migration from Central America and prevents that money from being used elsewhere. Senator Patrick J. Leahy of Vermont, the Senate Appropriations Committee’s top Democrat, said a similar provision was left out of the Senate bill as part of compromise with Republicans.
The House measure also ensures that development aid for the governments of Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador, which Mr. Trump has threatened to revoke, would be protected.
The Senate does not allocate any funds to the State Department or related agencies.
Democratic lawmakers and aides said they expected the amendments, which were concessions to Hispanic and liberal Democrats, to produce a winning tally when the measure comes to a vote later Tuesday. House looks set to pass emergency funding bill for migrants:
A full court press by leaders, including Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., was also helping nail down support, though some Democrats had lingering reservations.
The Senate plans to vote on a different, and bipartisan, companion measure in coming days as the chambers race to wrap up the must-do legislation by the end of the week. The White House is threatening to veto the House bill, saying it would hamstring the administration’s border security efforts, and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky, suggested Tuesday that the House should simply accept the Senate measure — which received only a single “nay” vote during a committee vote last week.
“The idea here is to get a (presidential) signature, so I think once we can get that out of the Senate, hopefully on a vote similar to the one in the Appropriations Committee, I’m hoping that the House will conclude that’s the best way to get the problem solved, which can only happen with a signature,” said McConnell.
House Democrats seeking the changes met late Monday with Pelosi, and lawmakers emerging from a morning caucus meeting were supportive of the legislation. Hispanic lawmakers were still seeking additional changes, however.
In the closed-door meeting Tuesday morning, Pelosi urged them to rally strongly behind the legislation in hopes of increasing their leverage when they negotiate a compromise package with the Republican-run Senate. There was silence in the room when she asked if any lawmakers had problems with the legislation, according to a senior Democratic aide who spoke on condition of anonymity to describe the private session.
Pelosi also warned that President Donald Trump’s hand would be strengthened if the legislation failed, the aide said.
“The president would love for this bill to go down today,” she said, according to the aide. “A vote against this bill is a vote for Donald Trump and his inhumane, outside-the-circle-of-civilized attitude toward the children.”
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Congress plans to leave Washington in a few days for a weeklong July 4 recess. Democratic leaders said they wanted the House and Senate to send Trump a final, compromise bill this week, rather than going home and facing constituents’ accusations of not responding to the migrants’ needs.
Here’s a novel idea: No one goes home until you have a deal. WTF is wrong with you people?
In a letter Monday threatening the veto, White House officials told lawmakers they objected that the House package lacked money for beds the federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency needs to let it detain more migrants. Officials also complained in the letter that the bill had no money to toughen border security, including funds for building Trump’s proposed border wall.
This is about a humanitarian crisis on the border, one created by the Trump administration for the obvious purpose of extorting money out of Democrats in Congress for his “big beautiful wall” on the Mexico border. Trump doesn’t give a damn about the suffering of children crowded into “ice box” cages on cement floors with only a metal blanket, forced to live in their own filth without adequate sanitation or even a bar of soap and a tooth brush, and fed inadequate portions of “frankenfood” three times a day that leaves them hungry. These children are sick, hungry and frightened, and suffering from emotional distress. Medical doctors have described it as “torture.”
For the record, Newsweek went to the trouble of asking actual academic experts, and they did not beat around the bush: Yes, the term concentration camp is accurate. Sociology professor Richard Lachmann defined the term as “any place where large numbers of people are held in poor conditions because of their nationality, ethnicity, religion or other characteristics rather than as individuals convicted of crimes.” (h/t Daily Kos).
“We’ve got lives at stake,” said Rep. Tony Cardenas, D-Calif. He said the U.S. has been “the gold standard” for treating refugees fleeing dangerous countries, “and I don’t think we should compromise that at all.”
Much of the legislation’s money would help care for migrants at a time when federal officials say their agencies have been overwhelmed by the influx of migrants and are running out of funds.
“This is strictly a supplemental that’s in response to a humanitarian crisis that is taking place right now,” said Rep. Lucille Roybal-Allard, D-Calif., one of the authors of the bill. She said language in the measure limits the use of the funding to “food, clothing, better shelter facilities and so on.”
But Trump will veto it because it does not include extortion for his “big beautiful wall’ on the Mexico border. He is using these innocent children as pawns.
The Senate bill will likely fare no better in the House. The Congress is paralyzed over Trump’s obsession for border wall funding, so he can tell his Nuremberg-style campaign rallies of MAGA cult followers that he delivered on a campaign promise in running for reelection. This is moral bankruptcy and depravity.
Every individual who dies in U.S. detention, their loss of life is on Trump’s hands, for which he should be held accountable.
UPDATE: The House passed the emergency appropriation bill on a vote of 230-195. Only three Republicans voted with the Democratic majority: Reps. Will Hurd (Texas), Chris Smith (N.J.), and Brian Fitzpatrick (Pa.) Four freshman Democrats voted against the bill: Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (N.Y.), Ilhan Omar (Minn.), Ayanna Pressley (Mass.), and Rashida Tlaib (Mich.) Eight members of Congress did not vote.