House and Senate split on how to handle border crisis
WASHINGTON – At an impasse on immigration, House Republicans and Senate Democrats advanced competing proposals Wednesday for dealing with tens of thousands of young migrants showing up at the southern border. Each side quickly ruled the other’s approach unacceptable, leaving any solution unclear with Congress’ annual August recess looming.
But Republicans were having difficulty agreeing even among themselves.
A working group appointed by House Republican Speaker John Boehner rolled out proposals including sending in the National Guard and changing a 2008 trafficking victims law to allow Central American children to be turned around quickly at the border and sent back home. Lawmakers announced plans to chop President Barack Obama’s $3.7 billion emergency spending request for the border crisis down to $1.5 billion.
But as they left the meeting in the basement of the Capitol, some of the more conservative members of the GOP caucus made clear they were unconvinced.
The path forward was not much clearer in the Senate, where Appropriations Committee Chairwoman Barbara Mikulski, D-Md., introduced legislation paring Obama’s spending request back to $2.7 billion for more immigration judges, detention facilities and other resources.
“We cannot turn our backs on these children,” Mikulski said on the Senate floor.
But Mikulski said she was omitting from her legislation any changes to the 2008 trafficking victims law, which Republicans say has contributed to the crisis by allowing Central American youths to stay in this country indefinitely while awaiting far-off court dates.
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