US Senate Approves Funds to Address Border Crisis

Protesters Julie Lythcott-Haims from left Kris Brockmann Peggy Hinkle and Jennifer Lang at the Border Patrol station on Hondo Pass

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said Democrats would propose changes to the Senate legislation on Thursday, and spokesman Drew Hammill said they planned to quickly push the amended measure through the House.

House Republicans have Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) to bring up the Senate's version of the emergency border bill, citing "poison pills" passed in the House's recently passed version, which was created to appeal to progressive Democrats.

The 305-102 vote capped a Washington skirmish in which staunch House liberals came out on the losing end in a battle with Trump, the GOP-controlled Senate and Democratic moderates.

The funding is urgently needed to prevent the humanitarian emergency on the U.S. -Mexico border from worsening.

Amid the ensuing outcry, the acting commissioner of the US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agency, John Sanders, said on Tuesday he was resigning. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., Senate Democrats' chief negotiator on the measure, citing the Appropriations Committee's overwhelming approval, which presaged the Senate's 84-8 final passage.

The House amendment to the Senate bill would have reshuffled funding - adding money for humanitarian and processing needs, subtracting money from ICE and strengthening safeguards for children in government custody.

But Pelosi pulled that measure from consideration early Thursday afternoon, then sent the letter to her colleagues, explaining they would still fight to protect asylum seekers and children.

The Senate passed the 4.6-billion-US-dollar border funding bill on Wednesday, one day after the House of Representatives approved a markedly different version.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi choked back tears over the photo of a migrant father and daughter killed crossing the Rio Grande River as she pushed for stronger protections in a border crisis funding bill.

Attorneys representing migrant children filed papers in federal court in Los Angeles on Wednesday asking that the United States government be held in contempt of court for "flagrant and persistent" violations of the terms of a 1997 agreement that governs the treatment of children in immigration detention. Four House Democrats rejected their party's bill: Representatives Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, Ilhan Omar of Minnesota, Ayanna Pressley of MA, and Rashida Tlaib of MI.

Pelosi also spoke with Vice President Mike Pence, according to one aide, in which he reiterated the administration's commitment to the Senate version.

"If I thought this bill would begin to solve the crisis on our southern border, I would vote for it", Lee said in a statement.

"What are you doing to actually make sure that children are getting the care and the sanitary conditions and the food that they need?" Failure to act could bring a swift political rebuke and accusations of ignoring the plight of innocent immigrant children who are living in overcrowded, often inadequate federal facilities.

The decision to pass the Senate bill provoked outrage from other House progressives. The White House was prepared to veto the House Democrats' changes, administration officials said.

The Border Patrol's chief of law enforcement operations, Brian Hastings, responded that detention facilities are being upgraded with shower facilities and increased medical care.

The Senate still faces uncertainty on when they would pass their border supplemental bill, a separate proposal that doesn't include some of the policy riders the House bill has and gives money to the Department of Defense, something that the House doesn't do.

Pressure to approve the funds this week has grown amid reports of hundreds of children being housed in appalling conditions in a Texas facility. "They are simply people fleeing a disgusting situation in their home country for a better life".

"There may be some things that we would yield on, depending on the objection they may have", she told reporters before the call.



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