Nancy Pelosi retreats on emergency border aid, giving ‘Grim Reaper’ Mitch McConnell a win (Updated)


Piling more bad news on top of bad news from the U.S. Supreme Court, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi today agreed to clear the Senate’s version of emergency border aid package for strapped federal agencies dealing with the migrant humanitarian crisis, “jettisoning the House’s strict controls on the $4.6 billion in a stinging defeat. In Defeat, Pelosi Agrees to Pass Senate Border Bill Without House Conditions:

The retreat was a striking display of disarray and an unusual setback for Ms. Pelosi, who has been adept at navigating the political complexities of a caucus riven with powerful progressive and moderate factions that often work at cross purposes. On Thursday, their priorities clashed in spectacular fashion, and the speaker — who had put her reputation on the line, calling herself a “lioness” out to protect children as she held out for stronger protections in migrant facilities that house them — had to accept defeat.

On Wednesday night, the Senate Approved a $4.6 Billion Bill for Border With Fewer Restrictions.

“In order to get resources to the children fastest, we will reluctantly pass the Senate bill,” Ms. Pelosi said in a letter to Democratic lawmakers. “As we pass the Senate bill, we will do so with a Battle Cry as to how we go forward to protect children in a way that truly honors their dignity and worth.”

Her retreat came after Vice President Mike Pence gave Ms. Pelosi private assurances that the administration would voluntarily abide by some of the restrictions she had sought, including notifying lawmakers within 24 hours after the death of a migrant child in government custody, and placing a 90-day time limit on children spending time in temporary intake facilities, according to a person familiar with the discussions. [The Flores settlement sets the time limit at 72 hours].

A last-minute revolt by centrist lawmakers ensured defeat for Ms. Pelosi’s efforts to toughen the conditions in the Senate bill. The moderate Democrats balked at a funding reduction for Immigration and Customs Enforcement, leaving the House floor in chaos and emotions running high. Ms. Pelosi was left with little choice but to accept the less-restrictive Senate bill, which passed on a lopsided bipartisan vote this week and would do far less to rein in President Trump’s immigration crackdown.

“We already have our compromise,” Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the majority leader, said on the Senate floor, calling his chamber’s bill “the only game in town.”

“It’s time to quit playing games,” he added. “Time to make law.”

Liberal Democrats were left infuriated.

“No one should be advocating for the Republican proposal in the Senate if you’re in the House, especially given we had a strong vote from our caucus,” said Representative Mark Pocan, Democrat of Wisconsin and a co-chairman of the Progressive Caucus. “I just would hate to try to explain that back home.”

He later singled out the Problem Solvers Caucus, a group of 23 Democrats and 23 Republicans, on Twitter for their push to to consider the Senate bill, asking “since when did the Problem Solvers Caucus become the Child Abuse Caucus? Wouldn’t they want to at least fight against contractors who run deplorable facilities? Kids are the only ones who could lose today.”

Nancy lost this battle. Pray she doesn’t lose the war to these Trumpism fascists.

UPDATE: Joan McCarter at Daily Kos adds:

The House Democrats who are enabling Donald Trump and Mitch McConnell to continue the cruelty being unleashed on the border are not doing it in a vacuum. They’re joined by a majority of Senate Democrats, who really should know better than to give McConnell a win.

The Senate bill does not include language to force the administration to meet basic humanitarian safety and health standards. But that bill passed 84-8, with just six Democratic senators voting no (the number probably would have been higher had the seven senators in Miami for the presidential debates been present). As it is, just Sens. Mazie Hirono (Hawaii), Ed Markey (Massachusetts), Bob Menendez (New Jersey), Jeff Merkley (Oregon), Chris Van Hollen (Maryland), and Ron Wyden (Oregon) stood against McConnell.

The vote gives McConnell the ability to refuse to bring an amended bill from the House to the floor. The “Senate bill is the only game in town” he says. “It’s time to quit playing games. Time to make law.” So far, he’s refusing to even consider going to conference with the House to work out a compromise, and the large vote of support from Democrats bolsters his obstruction.

Maybe they just all want so much to get out of town for a long July Fourth weekend that they’re willing to go along with what McConnell wants. Maybe they’ve all been in a bunker and haven’t seen The Photo. Maybe they can blithely continue on in forced ignorance about the horrors at the border.

What they’re doing is empowering Trump and McConnell even more. On this day. This day, when the conservative Supreme Court put its thumb on the scale of our elections and proved just how dangerous that power in McConnell’s and Trump’s hands is. In this case, it is literally life or death.

UPDATE: The House approved the Senate Version of the bill on a vote of 305-102:

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Arizona Delegation: Ayes: Kirkpatrick, Lesko, O’Halleran, Schweikert, Stanton; Noes: Biggs, Gallego, Gosar, Grijalva.

You won’t see that very often.