House Reaches Deal on Emergency Funding Bill for Border Situation

House Reaches Deal on Emergency Funding Bill for Border Situation June 26, 2019

The House Democrats have passed a bill for $4.5 billion in emergency funding for the situation at the border, with four Democrats refusing to vote for it because it didn’t end the detention of children. It would help relieve the problems at detention centers by giving at least a billion dollars to expand capacity and improve conditions. The vote was 230-195, with nearly all Republicans voting against it.

The House passed a $4.5 billion emergency border aid bill Tuesday, one containing provisions for the treatment of migrant children in U.S. custody that Democratic leaders added amid widespread anger in their ranks over President Trump’s handling of the crisis.

The 230-to-195 largely party-line vote followed a flurry of last-minute negotiations among Democrats who said they have been horrified by reports of poor conditions at overcrowded U.S. Customs and Border Protection facilities where unaccompanied children have been kept. The bill’s passage sets up a high-stakes negotiation with Trump and Senate Republicans to deliver aid days before a looming deadline…

Additional changes Lowey unveiled Tuesday afternoon would bar HHS shelter contractors who do not provide adequate accommodations, food and personal items, such as toothbrushes, as well as routine medical care, schooling, leisure activities, and other basic services.

But four Democrats, led by Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, refused to vote for the bill because it doesn’t require the end of child detention at the border. This is a foolish stance that makes the perfect the enemy of the good. They simply do not have the votes to pass a bill ending the detention of children at the border (though the courts might end it at some point). Since they can’t possibly get that done, they should at least provide the funding to make the conditions more humane. That’s better than the status quo, a lot better, especially if there is a specific definition of how the children must be treated while in detention.

The House Republican caucus did not vote for this bill. because they want a vote on a Senate bill that the Senate Appropriations Committee passed by an overwhelming bipartisan vote of 30-1. It contains almost identical amounts of funding, but some of it is earmarked for things the House Democrats don’t support — but not funding for a border wall. Whichever bill that passes, it is crucial that the money start flowing so the conditions can be improved for the detained children as quickly as possible. Let’s make things better in the short run and continue to try to end such detention completely in the long term.

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