The 223 – 189 vote came after an initial attempt at a border supplement failed to make it to the floor Thursday due to lack of support.
Late-night meetings and tweaks to the original bills found members emerging from a Friday morning House GOP conference meeting expressing optimism about the prospects of passing a supplemental border bill to help alleviate the ongoing crisis of unaccompanied minors and family units illegally crossing the southern border.
The GOP victory comes after conservative House members pressed hard for changes tightening up the initial bill that failed to come to the floor Thursday due to lack of support.
According to Fox News’ Chad Pergram, four Republicans voted “no:” (Reps. Thomas Massie (R-KY), Stephen Fincher (R-TN), Walter Jones (R-NC) and Paul Broun (R-GA), and one Democrat voted “yes:” Rep. Henry Cuellar (D-TX).
A bill targeting President Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program is now set to be brought to the floor following the border supplement. Many Republicans have pointed to the presidents’ DACA program — which shields certain illegal immigrants who came to the U.S. as children from deportation — as inciting the flood of illegal immigration.
Since October more than 57,000 unaccompanied minors — the vast majority of who are from El Salvador, Honduras, and Guatemala — have been detained illegally crossing the southern border into the U.S. forcing the federal government to scramble for additional resources to cope with the influx.
Earlier in the summer, President Obama requested $3.7 billion to deal with the ongoing crisis. The supplemental appropriations bill the House GOP passed Friday night would supply $694 million to deal with the crisis — including providing additional funding to states to deploy the National Guard — and “fixes” a 2008 trafficking law that has made removing unaccompanied minors from countries other than Mexico difficult.
“Our plan reallocates $694 million to secure the border, provide emergency care, and prevent future arrivals,” House Republican Conference Chair Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) said after the vote. “This will ensure that children are reunited with families in their home countries. Our solution addresses the problem humanely, effectively, and expeditiously. The crisis at the border demands our attention. It demands our action. And it demands our immediate and unwavering leadership.”
The legislation is unlikely to go much farther, however. The Senate left for August recess this week after failing to pass a supplemental border bill and President Obama slammed House Republicans Friday for “trying to pass the most extreme and unworkable versions of a bill that they already know is going nowhere, that can’t pass the Senate and that if it were to pass the Senate I would veto. They know it.”
The Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) threw the ball back in Obama’s court after the bill’s passage, however, saying “while the House acted today to provide targeted and narrow funding to meet urgent needs at our southern border, it is ultimately up to President Obama to end this crisis by reversing his policies that created it.”
House Speaker John Boehner also released this statement in response to the bill’s passage:
The House has just passed a responsible bill to address the humanitarian crisis at our southern border. It will help secure our border and ensure the safe and swift return of these children to their home countries. If President Obama needs these resources, he will urge Senate Democrats to put politics aside, come back to work, and approve our bill. There are also steps the president can take to address this crisis within the law, and without further legislative action. Every day the president and his party fail to act is another day this crisis continues.