The House will vote tonight on a revised plan to address the influx of thousands of children at the U.S.-Mexico border, a day after a revolt by some Republican members forced cancellation of an earlier vote.
The $694 million proposal would include a new $35 million payment to reimburse Texas for National Guard troops deployed at the border by Governor Rick Perry. It also would revise a provision intended to speed the deportation of Central American children arriving at the border.
The House is scheduled to vote at about 8 p.m. Washington time, according to a message sent to House members and obtained by Bloomberg News.
“I think we’ve got legislation that all Republicans support,” House Foreign Affairs Chairman Ed Royce of California told reporters.
Republicans held an hour-long meeting today to gather support for the new plan, H.R. 5230. It includes changes sought by some holdouts who met with Tea Party-backed Republican Senator Ted Cruz of Texas two days ago to discuss opposition to the earlier proposal.
President Barack Obama, speaking to reporters today at the White House, said the revised measure is “the most extreme and unworkable version of a bill that they already know is going nowhere.”
The administration will have to shift funds to cover the costs of the migrant surge during Congress’s five-week recess because lawmakers haven’t agreed on funding, Obama said.
“We’ve run out of money,” the president said.
House Speaker John Boehner and his new leadership team, Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy and Majority Whip Steve Scalise, yesterday called off a vote on the leaders’ earlier $659 million proposal for lack of votes.
Representatives Michele Bachmann of Minnesota and Steve King of Iowa stood up during today’s meeting to say they had opposed the plan yesterday and would vote for it today, said a leadership aide who sought anonymity to describe the private conference.
Democrats said Republicans were making the bill more harmful to migrant children to get votes from members aligned with the small-government Tea Party and said it has no chance of becoming law while Obama is president.
“For Republicans to continue on this march because of the pressure of their far, far right means they aren’t interested in getting things done,” said Representative Xavier Becerra, a California Democrat.
Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi of California said the Republican shift on the bill will cost what little Democratic support the measure had. Her members “didn’t like it yesterday, now it’s gone further to the right,” she said in an interview today.
About 57,000 unaccompanied children were apprehended at the border from Oct. 1, 2013, through June 15, double the total from the same time a year earlier. Most of them are from El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras.
Even if the House passes a plan, there’s no chance of it becoming law any time soon: The Senate failed to advance its border plan on a 50-44 vote yesterday and will be leaving Washington until Sept. 8. The Senate bill doesn’t include language making it easier to deport Central American children.
In the House proposal, leaders swapped out language aimed at expediting deportations of Central American children by adopting an approach authored by Representatives John Carter of Texas, Jack Kingston of Georgia and Robert Aderholt of Alabama.
Carter’s amended language would require a hearing in 14 days for Central American children who don’t volunteer to be deported. The previous version required a hearing in seven days, and Carter said that wouldn’t be a feasible requirement.
The changes remove a provision that Carter said could have given Mexican children an increased chance of remaining in the U.S.
The House also is scheduled to vote on Representative Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee’s separate proposal to block Obama from expanding a 2012 policy to protect from deportation certain undocumented immigrants brought to the U.S. as children before 2007. The bill, H.R. 5272, would prevent funds from being used to process new applications under the 2012 executive order or to issue new work permits.
Some Republicans yesterday accused Cruz of meddling in House business. Cruz, a Tea Party-backed lawmaker and potential presidential candidate in 2016, urged House Republicans to oppose leaders’ $659 million border plan. Enough balked to force cancellation of yesterday’s scheduled vote.