The Senate Appropriations Committee approved a $4.6 billion emergency spending bill to address the border crisis.  Approval was achieved only after explicit wording was included that prevents diverting any of the monies to the building of the wall.  The bill will move to the Senate next week for a vote.

Fox News reports:

A Senate panel gave its approval Wednesday to President Trump’s $4.6 billion request for funding to tackle the escalating humanitarian crisis at the southern border — but only after funding for a wall was pulled to get Democratic approval.

The Senate Appropriations Committee approved the bill in a 30-1 vote, sending it to the Senate floor for a vote next week.

The bill contains $2.9 billion to care for unaccompanied minors crossing the border and an additional $1.3 billion to care for adult asylum seekers and migrants.

The Washington Examiner reports that it also included $1.1 billion for Customs and Border Protection to “improve conditions at border entry points” and for “transportation, medical care and items like clothing, baby formula and other essential items.” It also includes $65 million for new immigration judges and to educate migrants on the legal process.

But agreement on the Committee only came after Chairman Richard Shelby, R-Ala., agreed to drop requests for more detention beds and to a provision that blocks money from being diverted to a wall on the border.

The bill includes new immigration judges and various means of funding all aspects of care for illegal aliens and asylum seekers.

The Washington Examiner reports:

Below are many of the details in the package before the committee:

  • $65 million to hire 30 new immigration judges and help educate detained immigrants on the legal process.
  • $155 million to U.S. Marshals Service for prisoner transportation, housing, care.
  • $1.1 billion for Customs and Border Protection to improve conditions at border entry points, transportation, medical care and items like clothing, baby formula and other essential items.
  • $204 million to Immigration and Customs Enforcement for transportation of illegals, medical care, and “alternatives to detention.”
  • $30 million to the Federal Emergency Management Agency for the care of “homeless migrants.”
  • $2.88 billion to the Department of Health and Human Services for the care of unaccompanied alien children.

In making the case for the UAC funding, the leadership noted that 51,000 children have referred to HHS through May, a 60% increase over last year.

Addressing the compromises required to approve the bill in the small—relative to the Senate, and if it passes there, the House—appropriations committee, members note that neither side got everything they wanted.

Roll Call reports:

The Senate committee vote was 30-1, with only Sen. Jeff Merkley, a Democrat from Oregon, voting nay.

The bill included several provisions Democrats had sought, but also leaves intact money for immigrant detention and the continued military presence at the border. The money would go across four departments — Justice, Homeland Security, Defense, and Health and Human Services.

“This package does not include everything I wanted; it does not include everything Vice Chairman Leahy wanted,” Sen. Richard C. Shelby, R-Ala., who chairs the Senate Appropriations Committee, said in his opening remarks. “But most importantly, it does not include poison pills from either party,” he said.

Senate Appropriations Committee Vice Chairman Patrick J. Leahy, D-Vt., said: “This package is a humanitarian package to address the desperate needs on our southern border, and it is a good faith compromise.”

The bill is expected to pass the Senate, but its future in the House is less certain.  Indeed, the House is working on its own bill to address the border crisis and hopes to get theirs passed in the House before the Senate bill is passed.

Roll Call continues:

On the Senate floor Wednesday, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said he expected the supplemental to be a “slam dunk.”

“We’re talking about money for non-controversial purposes, mostly humanitarian efforts,” he said.

Without elaborating, House Appropriations Chairwoman Nita Lowey, D-N.Y., said there were differences between the Senate’s approach and what House Democrats would support.

“While House Democrats are still reviewing the Senate border supplemental legislation, my colleagues and I have concerns with the Senate bill as currently written,” Lowey said. “We are continuing to work diligently to finalize legislation to address the humanitarian crisis at the southern border, with a view to bringing a House bill to the floor next week.”

. . . .  “We’re hoping the House is going to move first,” Roybal-Allard said Wednesday. “That’s what we’re working on right now. … There’s some minor details we’re working out with the Republicans, but our hope is it will be bipartisan.”

House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer confirmed Roybal-Allard’s comments, suggesting Democrats do not want to leave for the July Fourth recess without passing humanitarian aid.

“We’d like to move on it in a bipartisan way so we can pass it in the House and the Senate and go to the president and he can sign it,” the Maryland Democrat said. “If that’s not possible, I would hope that we would pass our own version of what we think that humanitarian relief is and a very substantial number because there’s a crisis that we deal with and we want to deal with.”


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