Senate Passes Its Own Emergency Border Legislation After Rejecting House Bill

A full moon rises over the US-Mexico border as a border protection vehicle patrols the area as seen from Tijuana Baja California state Mexico

A full moon rises over the US-Mexico border as a border protection vehicle patrols the area as seen from Tijuana Baja California state Mexico

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A divided House voted on Tuesday to send $4.5 billion in humanitarian aid to the border to address horrific conditions facing a crush of migrants, attaching significant rules on how the money could be spent in the first action by Democrats to rein in President Trump's immigration crackdown.

Several Democrats in the House of Representatives said the chamber was likely to vote later on Thursday on a $4.6 billion spending bill that was approved by the Senate on Wednesday. "The Senate has a better and more bipartisan way forward..."

President Donald Trump and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi discussed the legislation Wednesday afternoon, with Pelosi calling the president to press for negotiations.

The Democrat-controlled House can push to pass its bill or compromise with the Senate in a conference committee.

Both chambers will now aim to work toward a bill that they can agree on before they break for July Fourth.

In the closed-door meeting early June 25, Pelosi urged them to rally strongly behind the legislation in hopes of increasing their leverage when they negotiate a compromise package with the Republican-run Senate.

"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 statement.

From October 2018 to May 2019, almost 51,000 children were referred to the HHS, a 60 percent increase from past year, according to a Senate summary of the bill. "The situation down there, as we all know, is pretty dire".

"This is not the one we had hoped for, but it's the one I hope we're voting on today", Pelosi said on Thursday.

Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) said the House bill is "inadequate".

Republicans said they preferred the $US4.6 billion Senate version of the bill, which has passed a committee on a bipartisan basis, and includes money - left out by the House - to pay overtime for Immigration and Customs Enforcement employees.

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Shelby cautioned the differences "are not that small". The White House had threatened to veto the House version. "Instead it funds effective humane alternatives to detention that have a proven record of success", House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said ahead of the vote.

But despite the overwhelming 84-to-8 vote and a bipartisan sense of urgency to act, a struggle loomed with the House, which passed a different version of the spending bill yesterday that contains greater restrictions on the Trump Administration and is opposed by the White House. A message left with the White House Wednesday morning was not immediately returned.

"I don't think there's room for any threats here". "We want the children, weighing the equities, to have as much as they can get as soon as they can, but that doesn't mean the path of least resistance, which is what the Senate wants us to do". "They can easily take it up, put it on the president's desk and get his signature".

The battle over border funding has turned into a battle over money for ICE, with Democrats insisting Thursday on cuts to the agency's proposed budget in order to approve humanitarian assistance for children. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts, Rashida Tlaib of MI and Ilhan Omar of Minnesota.

But Democratic leaders had to work to secure votes for the bill from progressive lawmakers anxious the Trump administration might use the funds for other purposes, such as deportation of migrants.

The Senate bill does not fund any additional ICE detention beds, and prohibits officials from using any of the appropriated funds for other purposes.

The same provisions that helped win over progressive Democrats were denounced by House Republicans as "poison pills".

Rep. Adriano Espaillat, Democrat of NY, said it was "legislative malpractice" for the Senate to not pass the House bill.

"We can not tolerate the endangerment, abuse or smuggling of children", Trump said earlier Wednesday at an evangelical conference sponsored by the Faith and Freedom Coalition. "More children will die".

While speaking on the viral photo of a drowned migrant father and daughter in the Rio Grande, the president suggested such deaths wouldn't happen if Congress fixed the laws.

The young girl is tucked inside her father's shirt, her right arm around his neck as they lie near the shore.

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