Pelosi Loses Grip on Democrats as Congress Scrambles Over Migrant Aid Bill
Dems clash on bill aimed at providing more funding to migrant families
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is facing a huge challenge following a $4.5 billion House bill aimed at providing more funding to migrant families at the U.S.-Mexico border.
At one side, the liberal faction of Democrats says the bill doesn’t go far enough, while moderates voice concern that chasing perfection will lead to inaction at the border.
As reports circle that children detained entering the U.S. from Mexico are being held under harsh conditions, there have been calls for more funding.
Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said that the border situation is dire, according to Fox News.
Azar said HHS shelters are full to capacity, and the budget is not there to increase unless they see action from Congress.
John Sanders, the Customs and Border Protection Chief Operating Officer, told The Associated Press that 15,000 people are being held at Border Patrol stations, which is three times their maximum capacity.
The package, offered by Chairman Sen. Richard Shelby, included funding for 30 new immigration judges to speed up the processing of illegal immigrants.
The package is based on President Donald Trump’s earlier appeal for humanitarian aid.
Pelosi and Democrats met on Capitol Hill on Monday to discuss a possible compromise.
Democratic House Speaker Pelosi told reporters this week that Democrats are carefully preparing to move on legislation to lower the legal voting age in the United States to 16 years old, before declaring, "I'm starting the crescendo club." https://t.co/H1RBhd6Qgk— Joleen DeVore❤🇺🇸 (@JoleenDeVore) March 20, 2019
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According to Fox News: Asked before the meeting about her concerns that Democrats’ push for perfection might result in inaction at the border, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., called it “a delicate situation.”
Afterward, she seemed to have left the door open saying: “My main goal is to keep kids from dying,” before calling the humanitarian bill a “short-term” measure.”
But others weren’t swayed. Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., said after the meeting:
“We cannot continue to throw money at a dysfunctional system."
"We are not just asking for simple changes to be made into this bill, but to go back to the drawing board and really address this from a humanitarian issue.”
The White House challenged lawmakers in a letter earlier Monday of attempting to undermine its efforts at the border, claiming that the House package does contribute enough money to toughen border security or funds for Trump’s proposed border wall.
Congress plans to leave Washington in a few days for a weeklong July 4 recess.
While lawmakers don’t want to leave without acting on the legislation for fear of being accused of not responding to humanitarian difficulties at the border, it seems unlikely that Congress would have time to send a House-Senate compromise to Trump by week’s end.