The House is expected to pass a $4.6 billion emergency border aid bill that has already cleared the Senate before the week-long Fourth of July recess.
Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) had intended to amend the Senate package to include provisions to ensure the humane treatment of migrant children at overcrowded Customs and Border Protection facilities but faced pressure within her caucus to just pass the Senate bill. Moderate Democrats objected to a leadership proposal to reduce funding for the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency, which they argued would reduce resources to combat human trafficking. The White House opposed the House changes and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) said his chamber would kill the bill if the House amended it.
Both the House and Senate bills restrict the administration from spending money on a border wall, but Pelosi and her leadership team wanted new health and safety standards for migrants in Border Patrol custody and a change to limit children’s stays in government-run border shelters to no more than 90 days.
“At the end of the day, we have to make sure that the resources needed to protect the children are available,” Pelosi said in a letter to her caucus today. “Therefore, we will not engage in the same disrespectful behavior that the Senate did in ignoring our priorities. In order to get resources to the children fastest, we will reluctantly pass the Senate bill.”
Senate Republicans accused House Democrats of trying to politicize the border aid issue. “The Senate bill is the only game in town,” McConnell said earlier today. “It’s time to quit playing games. Time to make law.”