In a bitter blow to the progressive factions of the House, Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) agreed on Thursday to allow a vote on the Senate's President Trump-approved $4.5 billion border funding bill with no restrictions. The New York Timescharacterized the development as "a striking display of disarray and an unusual setback for Ms. Pelosi."
On Wednesday, the Senate had voted 84-8 to approve the emergency funding legislation for the U.S.-Mexico border, with $2.88 billion set aside for the Office of Refugee Resettlement and other funding funneled to the Defense Department and Immigration and Customs Enforcement. The House's version of the bill did not include the funding for the DoD or ICE, and progressives had sought specific amendments that would have increased protections for migrant children.
Vice President Mike Pence reportedly privately assured Pelosi that the Trump administration "would voluntarily abide by some of the [provisions] 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," a person familiar with the negotiations told the Times.
Around two dozen moderate Democrats had joined with Republicans and driven Pelosi to fold. Nevertheless, the White House heavily criticized Democrats for the delay in approving the funding, Bloomberg reports, with the administration saying in a statement that it had "sent its request for emergency funding eight weeks ago, but there was no action." Jeva Lange
Both parties in the Senate agree on one thing: There's a dire situation at the southern border.
The Senate on Wednesday voted 84-8 to approve $4.6 billion in emergency funding for the U.S.-Mexico border, sending $2.88 billion to the Office of Refugee Resettlement and other funding to the Defense Department and Immigration and Customs Enforcement. The House's version of the bill passed Tuesday doesn't include the DoD or ICE funding, setting the two chambers up for reconciliation discussions, The Washington Post reports.
The Senate's vote came as outrageous conditions on the border become even more apparent, with reports indicating last week that migrant children were being held in disgusting conditions in a remote Texas detention facility. ORR, which cares for these children, has been cutting services as its funding dries up. The Democratic House's version of the emergency spending bill requires greater scrutiny of private detention centers that house migrants, meaning it will have to work with the GOP-held Senate to decide if that provision makes it to President Trump's desk.
Ahead of Wednesday's vote, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) brought up a stunning photo of a father and daughter who drowned crossing the Rio Grande, and asked Trump to see the migrants as "people fleeing a horrible situation in their home country for a better life." Trump has hinted that he prefers the Senate's version of the bill, and suggested the two chambers "get together" to work out a deal. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) called the House bill's stricter requirements "poison-pill riders which the president would veto." Kathryn Krawczyk
Editor's note: An earlier version of this story misstated Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer's title. It has since been corrected. We regret the error.