House Democrats Pass Emergency Funding to Address Border Crisis
WASHINGTON – House Democrats passed a $4.5 billion emergency funding bill Tuesday night to address the humanitarian crisis involving the thousands of families detained after crossing the U.S.-Mexico border.
Democratic leaders worked tirelessly Monday night into Tuesday to secure support for the measure.
Among the last minute additions to the bill unveiled Tuesday is a requirement that the Department of Homeland Security establish new standards for the care of unaccompanied immigrant children and a plan for ensuring adequate translators to assist migrants in their dealings with law enforcement.
In addition, a last minute change prohibits the Secretary of Health and Human Services from waiving certain requirements of the Flores settlement if a contractor or grantee is not providing such services after six months and requires the secretary to replace contractors or grantees who fail to meet enhanced standards required under the Flores settlement.
There is also increased funding for the Immigration Court Helpdesk Program, the House adding $2 million to the Executive Office for Immigration Review for continued operation of the program, which provides services to address the needs of immigrants in removal proceedings.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., met with Democrats seeking changes to the bill Monday night, and in a closed-door meeting Tuesday morning, she reportedly urged them to stand behind the legislation in hopes of increasing their leverage when they negotiate a compromise package with the Republican-run Senate.
“The president would love for this bill to go down today,” Pelosi said, according to an aide.
The White House is threatening to veto the House bill, saying it would hamstring the administration’s border security efforts.
Meanwhile, the Senate hopes to vote on a different, and bipartisan, companion measure as early as Tuesday as the chambers race to wrap up the must-do legislation by the end of the week, when Congress plans to leave Washington for a weeklong July 4 work period in their districts.
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