GOP seeks changes to Obama's $3.7 billion border bill
WASHINGTON — Leading congressional Republicans dug in Sunday on their view that President Obama's $3.7 billion emergency spending request to stem the flow of children across the southwest border is too costly and needs to include tougher immigration laws to pass.
Republicans want to enact as part of the spending bill legislation that would expedite the return of unaccompanied minors that have flooded the U.S. border. Since October, more than 40,000 children from Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador have turned themselves in at the border. By comparison, in 2011, fewer than 4,000 children from those countries crossed the border.
“The best way to (stem the flow) is for planeloads of these young people to be returning to the country of origin and their families,” Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., told CNN on Sunday. McCain said it will deter families and “coyotes” who solicit money to get children to the border because they will see it's an ineffective way to get their kids into the United States. “Then it will stop — and not before,” he said.
McCain conceded that many of the children are fleeing dangerous conditions at home, but he said those seeking asylum should apply through existing channels. “The fact is that we cannot have an unending stream of children, whether it'd be from Central America or any place else, to come into our country with all of the strains and pressures that it puts on our capabilities.”
In a rare agreement between the president and Republicans on an immigration debate, the administration has indicated support for laws to fast-track deportation proceedings even as leading congressional Democrats oppose it.
What the administration is more likely to resist is GOP efforts to trim the size of his spending request.
Rep. Mike McCaul, R-Texas, who chairs the Homeland Security Committee, told “Fox News Sunday” that Republicans were considering a “very limited” emergency funding bill that would provide money only through the end of the fiscal year on Sept. 30. He also said they could attack provisions to tighten border security.
House Appropriations Chairman Hal Rogers, R-Texas, whose panel will write the spending bill, told reporters on Friday that the current tab is “too much,” but he did not say what funding level the committee is considering. House Republicans are expected to discuss the spending bill at a meeting on Tuesday.
The administration is receiving pushback from some leading Democrats who think the president is bowing to GOP demands on deporting the children and not doing enough to address it as a humanitarian crisis.
Senate Majority Whip Richard Durbin, D-Ill., told administration officials at a hearing on Thursday that their $15 million request to provide more lawyers to represent the children was “grossly inadequate” and expressed concerns that the children would return to dangerous environments. “What are we returning them to?” he said.
Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, likewise criticized the White House. “I have a problem with this administration. On the one hand, they say we want to send kids back as soon as possible. Then they turn around and say, well, but these kids are escaping violence and drugs and sexual abuse and gangs. How do you reconcile those two?” he said. “These kids need to be protected. They need to have (Health and Human Services) protect them and care for them and give them every meaningful right to apply for asylum.”
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Simple changes — nicotine drug, phone calls for reassurance — found to help more smokers stop
- ISIS beheads American photojournalist who was kidnapped 2 years ago in Syria
- Daughters more diligent than sons about elder care, study says
- Scathing report says college trustees fail in mission
- Latest Ferguson protests are smaller, more subdued
- Fuel oil spills into Ohio River
- Grand jury to hear evidence in Missouri shooting
- Monsoon rains wreak havoc in Arizona
- Agency makes high-tech push to improve military vehicles
- Students in L.A.-area shooting plot willing to die, police say
- Health care data breaches hit 30M patients and counting