A day after an embarrassing defeat, House Republicans are expected to vote later Friday on an even more conservative emergency funding bill to address the influx of unaccompanied minors coming to the United States.
Under the original bill, the Obama administration would be provided $659 million in emergency funding to address the ongoing crisis at the southern border. The revised bill now seeks to provide an additional $35 million to deploy National Guard troops to the border and make more changes to a 2008 anti-trafficking law in order to expedite the removal of unaccompanied minors from Central America to their home countries.
A separate vote is also expected on a measure that would prohibit undocumented young immigrants from renewing their work permits under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. This measure is picking up significant opposition from Democrats.
House Republican leaders drafted the new changes following a closed-door meeting Friday morning. They hope the changes will motivate conservative members to vote for the emergency funding bill—and their strategy seems to be working.
Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.), one of the conservative House members who opposed the initial bill, said on Friday that she supported the new bill and felt confident that it would pass.
“We were able to come to a point of 218 yes votes on what arguably is the most monumental vote that we will take in this entire term,” Bachmann said, according to The Hill. “And it’s dealing with the issue that the American people care about more than any other, and that is stopping the invasion of illegal foreign nationals into our country.”
But even it the bill passes, it isn’t likely to go anywhere in the Democratic-controlled Senate and it’s very unlikely that President Barack Obama will sign it.
Democrats condemn Republicans over border bill
At a press conference on Friday, Democrats condemned Republicans for the new changes they made to their emergency funding bill. Among them was House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer of Maryland, who accused House Republicans of moving even further to the right by “putting forward the harshest and most draconian policies they can think of.”
“Everyone recognizes that the need exists now for resources to ensure that we treat not just children but all people in a humanitarian fashion,” Hoyer said. “It’s unfortunate, therefore, that Republicans are playing partisan games with a bill that has no chance of passing the Senate or being signed into law. In other words, it is simply a message they want to send, not a solution.”
Meanwhile, Rep. Luis Gutierrez said the new Republican bill to address the crisis at the border was “offensive” toward Latinos. He said it also doesn’t help the GOP in its efforts to try to make inroads with Latinos, a vastly growing population that was turned off by Republicans in the 2012 elections because of their tough stance on immigration.
“This is offensive to our community,” Gutierrez said in Spanish, referring to the GOP bill. “We will not tolerate the abuse [House Republicans] have against children on the border and against Dreamers, many of whom have work permits. We will defend them all with all that we have.”
At Friday’s press conference, Congressional Hispanic Caucus Chairman Ruben Hinojosa (D-Texas) also condemned House Republicans for refusing to work with Democrats to address the influx of unaccompanied minors and come up with a bipartisan bill.
“Instead of working with us and our Democratic Caucus, House Republicans continue to use the crisis at the border to push forward their extreme agenda,” Hinojosa said, adding that he urges House Republicans to “stop playing politics with the lives of innocent children and work with us to find a bipartisan solution.”