UPDATED 11:05 AM PT — Tuesday, June 25, 2019
The Trump administration is threatening to veto the House border funding bill. In a statement released Monday, the Office of Management and Budget criticized the Democrats’ $4.5 billion plan for not setting aside enough money for critical border programs. It goes on to call it a “partisan bill that under funds necessary accounts, and seeks to take advantage of the current crisis by inserting policy provisions that would make our country less safe.”
The overcrowding at some facilities has reportedly left officials with bare-bones resources to care for unaccompanied migrant children and migrant families. On Monday, the Border Patrol moved hundreds of migrants kids from a detention center in Texas after attorneys reported on the conditions of the holding areas for detained migrants.
The Department of has warned if Congress fails to agree on legislation soon then it may run out of funding.
“So think (of it) like a government shutdown, because that’s what it is — we would be out of money for caring for these kids and the HHS shelter program, “said Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar. “And that’s why Congress has got to act now, we got to get the House and Senate to just pass a unified package as quickly as possible…this is not political, this isn’t about immigration policy, this is just about getting these kids cared for getting it funded and moving on.”
This comes as both the GOP-led Senate and the Democrat-House consider bills to address the border crisis.
Democrat lawmakers are struggling to address the situation at the border as they fight the urge to fund the president’s border policies. Politico reported that on Monday night the Democrats held a closed-door meeting where progressive and Hispanic lawmakers called to make changes to the bill, so that the president could not use the funds for the wall or other border projects. Congresswoman Ilhan Omar reportedly took a stand against any further funding for the border, saying “we cannot continue to throw money at a dysfunctional system.”
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi reportedly urged lawmakers to consider the implications if they fail at passing the bill as they fear the GOP-led Senate’s version for border aid will gain traction. Pelosi is hoping the her caucus’ border deal will be passed before this Thursday and the next week-long congressional recess.
Meanwhile, Republicans in the Senate are confident they have the upper hand with their deal. Senator Lindsey Graham is proposing a bill which would mandate migrants apply for asylum in Mexico or their home countries, hire hundreds of new immigration judges, and fix the Flores Agreement by allowing migrant children to be detained with their families up to 100-days instead of 20.
While the bill has been praised by the Trump administration, Graham and the bill’s co-sponsor — Senator Dick Durbin — said it won’t be ready for mark-up for weeks. This is well past the president’s two week deadline from last Saturday.
It’s unknown at this point which bill will get serious consideration from President Trump.