House Democrats blinked in the border crisis showdown Thursday, with members saying they were backing down on their partisan bill and would vote to approve the Senate’s bipartisan $4.6 billion version that gives President Trump most of what he wanted.
The bill includes money for ICE and the Defense Department — both of which were non-starters for many Democrats. And it lacks a number of new rules, such as no-notice visits by members of Congress to detention facilities and restrictions on how long children can be kept at some shelters.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi had talked with Vice President Mike Pence about getting administration commitments for some of those restrictions, but they will not be part of the bill lawmakers will vote on.
In announcing the defeat, Mrs. Pelosi vowed to fight on.
“At the end of the day, we have to make sure that the resources needed to protect the children are available,” she said in a letter to fellow Democrats. “In order to get resources to the children fastest, we will reluctantly pass the Senate bill.”
Just hours earlier she’d begged her Democratic troops for unity, saying that was their only “leverage” as they fought against the president’s spending plans.
But too many of her lawmakers were unwilling to follow. While they voted for a partisan House border spending bill on Tuesday, but Thursday they said they would just as soon accept the bipartisan Senate bill.
Faced with that reality, Mrs. Pelosi and her top lieutenants canceled plans for another partisan vote and said they’ll accept the Senate bill — though she was defiant to the end.
“We don’t need anyone, especially the U.S. Senate, to tell us what the needs are at the border,” she said.
House liberals erupted in anger — though they didn’t blame Mrs. Pelosi, but fingered Democrats in the Senate, who worked out the bipartisan deal.
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