With the congressional recess looming on Aug. 1, no votes have been scheduled on President Barack Obama's request for $3.7 billion in emergency spending to address the migrant children border crisis, Fox News reported.
House Appropriations Committee Chairman Hal Rogers of Kentucky said the White House request was "too much." Routine spending has already been covered FY 2015 legislation and any additional non-emergency monies could be appropriated through the usual spending approvals process, Rogers said.
An analysis by the Congressional Budget Office forecast that only $25 million of the $3.7 billion request would actually be spent in the current fiscal year. This money would cover costs associated with the care of unaccompanied immigrant children and placing them with family members or other caretakers, The Associated Press
"This indicates clearly that the agencies are not in dire need of supplemental funding from this Congress," said Sen. Jeff Sessions of Alabama, top Republican on the Budget Committee, according to AP. "It means we ought to slow down."
The House Appropriations Committee was pulling together its own emergency package to deal with the present situation on the border, Fox reported.
Senate Appropriations Committee Chairwoman Barbara Mikulski of Maryland said — without mentioning amounts — that she would have a bill drafted by Wednesday. "We're going to try to get it done," she said, according to Fox.
Where Mikulski and other Democrats cite a "humanitarian" crisis as a reason to act immediately, Republicans want Obama to rescind his June 2012 executive order which they say has served as a catalyst for the crisis. The order allows some migrants who arrived illegally as children to stay. Last Thursday, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz
called on Congress to defund Obama's directive as a condition for approving the emergency spending.
On the Senate floor, Majority Leader Harry Reid said, "Instead of considering a thoughtful, compassionate solution to a real-life crisis, radical Republicans would rather hold these kids ransom."
Another issue is amending a 2008 law that makes it much harder to deport children from non-bordering countries who enter the United States illegally.
The White House indicated it would be amenable to a change in the law so that the Border Patrol can swiftly deport children from Honduras, Guatemala, and El Salvador just as they can Mexican minors. However, some Democrats and advocacy groups, including the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, are vehemently opposed to amending the law, Fox News reported.
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