House Democrats say they’ve tamped down a mini-rebellion and have the votes to pass their border crisis spending bill later Tuesday.
Speaker Nancy Pelosi said they’ll speed the measure to the floor, and replied “Yes” when asked if they would be able to pass it.
“It’s for the children, the children, the children,” she said.
She and fellow leaders spent the night trying to figure out changes they could make to win over wavering Democrats who are wary of voting for anything that seems to deliver a win for President Trump on immigration.
Mrs. Pelosi said they were viewing it wrong.
“This isn’t an immigration bill,” she said. “It’s an appropriations bill to meet the needs of our children.”
Those children are thousands of illegal immigrants pouring across the border, some unaccompanied and others with parents. The families have strained resources, tested the good will of nations, and embarrassed all sides in Washington, where lawmakers are struggling for answers and engaged in placing blame.
To win over reluctant Democrats, Mrs. Pelosi and Rep. Nita Lowey, chair of the Appropriations Committee, have written changes to their $4.5 billion spending bill.
The biggest change would be putting a cap on how long Unaccompanied Alien Children (UAC) can be held at shelters that don’t go through a state licensing process.
That change could upend the way the government, dating back to the Obama years, has cared for the children who show up at the border without parents.
Another change would require Homeland Security to develop a plan to make sure every person who comes in contact with the three immigration agencies has access to “appropriate translation services.” That could cover millions of people.
Mr. Trump requested $4.5 billion in emergency money, with most of it going to better care for the migrant children and families.
House Democrats have countered with a $4.5 billion bill that denies Mr. Trump some of the money he wanted for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, and loads up with new restrictions on how he can spend the money he does have.
The White House on Monday threatened to veto the bill as written, and Ms. Lowey’s changes are unlikely to alter that threat.
Mrs. Pelosi is rushing to try to get her bill done today, hoping to head off a more bipartisan bill that’s due for a vote in the Senate later this week.
That bill includes more of the money Mr. Trump requested and fewer of the strings the House attached.
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