House GOP leaders, struggling for votes, unveil smaller border bill
July 29th, 2014
05:56 PM ET
5 months ago

House GOP leaders, struggling for votes, unveil smaller border bill

Washington (CNN) - Struggling to come up with enough votes to pass a funding bill to address the southern border crisis, House Republican leaders further scaled-back their proposal on Tuesday, unveiling a $659 million measure aimed at bringing conservatives on board.

While Speaker John Boehner told reporters that he believed "there is sufficient support" for the bill, he also admitted he had "a little more work to do."

Congress is set to leave town at the end of the week for its August recess.

The new GOP plan is smaller than the roughly $1 billion package discussed last week, and significantly less than the $3.7 billion request sought by President Barack Obama.

And it further underscores that no deal can be reached any time soon with Senate Democrats, who proposed a $2.7 billion package. It’s unlikely they can come up with the 60 votes needed to pass their own plan before the break.

House Republicans are concerned about potential political fallout if they leave Washington without addressing the issue. But a group of conservatives remain dug in over cost.

Some warned passage of a border bill opened the door to debate on broader immigration reforms they say would provide "amnesty" for millions of undocumented workers now in the United States.

Perhaps in a move to inflame those fears, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid acknowledged that Democrats could use the GOP border bill as a vehicle to add controversial comprehensive immigration reform legislation the Senate approved last summer.

“I’m not threatening anything. But we’ve been looking for something to do a conference on,” Reid said.

House and Senate GOP leadership aides cried foul, arguing it would be almost impossible procedurally to marry the two bills, especially after four Republican backers of the Senate immigration reform bill said they would refuse to go along with such a plan.

Boehner said in response that because Reid can't pass the Democrats' own border spending bill, he was "making a deceitful and cynical attempted to derail the House's commonsense solution."

And in a message directed more at his own members than Democrats, Boehner reiterated the House "will not take up the Senate immigration reform bill or accept it back from the Senate in any fashion.”

House GOP leadership aides still plan to vote on their border bill on Thursday, and many House Republicans told CNN they believe it is important to pass something to show they are taking the situation seriously and offering solutions.

Tens of thousands of migrant youth from Central America have streamed across the southern border this year, overwhelming related services and creating what most agree is a humanitarian crisis.

The No. 2 House Democrat told reporters there is no chance that the GOP bill would go anywhere in the Senate.

“If you are deluding yourself and you’re kidding yourself that voting for this bill is somehow being able to thrust out your chest and say ‘we did something.’ They’re not doing anything. They know that the Senate will not take their legislative language” Rep Steny Hoyer of Maryland said.

The legislation crafted by the House Appropriations Committee would target money for humanitarian assistance, National Guard troops, beefed up enforcement operations, and an effort to repatriate those unaccompanied children now in the United States.

The most controversial provision is one that changes a 2008 immigration law to make it easier to deport unaccompanied minors from Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala.

CNN's Ted Barrett, Paul Courson and Jeremy Diamond contributed to this report


Filed under: 2014 • Immigration
soundoff (15 Responses)
  1. Tea Party Ted

    $2.7 billion package? Government spending is bad*

    *unless we do it

    July 29, 2014 06:01 pm at 6:01 pm |
  2. DRAKE MALLARD

    Marco Rubio said immigrants seeking asylum should not be given preference.He wanted US immigration authorities to stop giving preference to migrants who are seeking asylum. But Cubans should be subject to the same immigration requirements as any other would be immigrant. . So either grant automatic legal status as soon as they set foot on American soil, or make Cubans go through the same process as any other immigrant. Until then, just another hypocrite.There should not be a "wet foot, dry foot" policy Will the Birthers Scrutinize Marco Rubio's U.S. Citizenship? Marco Rubio born to Cuban exiles? Not true, after all."Marco Rubio Lied About His Cuban Exile Immigrant Background"His parents came to this country in 1956 looking for economic opportunity. They declared at that time they intended to stay permanently. The fact that Castro came to power in 1959 makes a nice excuse to claim his parents were exiles, but it's simply not true. They came here looking for opportunity and assumed they'd be able to return to Cuba for visits whenever they could. Castro complicated the latter, but didn't change the former.”which makes Rubio a common anchor baby of a common economic migrant . with the added cop-out of claiming "Dry Foot Hot Track Status", denied to every OTHER economic immigrant coming here .

    July 29, 2014 06:05 pm at 6:05 pm |
  3. king

    Yeah right, anytime the repub says thobamaat there any optimism on any bill, they suck up to the partiers and end up shelving the bill. Reseach that one the teapartiers will kill the bill as they're running , around shouting Obama stop bringing in illegal in our country.you just cannot make this stuff up.

    July 29, 2014 06:34 pm at 6:34 pm |
  4. Gurgyl

    If you have guts, ask congress to pass Immigration Reform, Voter Reform, Ear-Mark, Filibuster Reforms, Green Energy push, etc. We need more of these to pass than sheer bickering. GOP is so pathetic, now.

    July 29, 2014 06:39 pm at 6:39 pm |
  5. Chris..E.Al

    Old yeller you should come up with something new turn the page or something it gets old reading the same old same old bad ideals and the same post your co op would be a plus ?

    July 29, 2014 06:56 pm at 6:56 pm |
  6. j. lopez

    Why not mine the south border? We have tried everything else.

    July 29, 2014 07:06 pm at 7:06 pm |
  7. Thomas

    BIRTH CONTROL NOW
    No More Illegal Aqua Buddhas

    Rick Perry / Rand Paul 2016

    July 29, 2014 07:06 pm at 7:06 pm |
  8. Hugo

    The House should not give Obama one red (oh I said red, no offense people of color and commies) to implement and assist this invasion of our Nation. Deportation of illegals immediate and legal immigration and work visas should be tied directly to the US unemployment number and workforce participation number. No entitlement monies should be given to ANY illegal invader in this Nation, period, I don't care how many times they voted for Obama.

    July 29, 2014 07:36 pm at 7:36 pm |
  9. S. B. Stein

    It seems that many of the GOP members of the House are afraid to do something with any Democrat for fear of the teapublicans running against them in a primary and getting flack from the right wing talking heads. That is not how to legislate and lead.

    July 29, 2014 10:20 pm at 10:20 pm |
  10. Old Yeller Dies at the end

    Why bother with border security? Obama will just grant work visas to millions of illegal immigrants via Executive Order anyways. Who cares about the millions of US citizens who have been out of a job for years because Obama has no clue how to run a capitalist economy and would rather give money and aid to terrorists and illegal immigrants.

    July 29, 2014 10:28 pm at 10:28 pm |
  11. rs

    Another opportunity for the GOP to take the lead on a popular issue. Too bad they have filled the airwaves with lies, hatred for children and crackpot conspiracies- they will take care of this problem- by doing what their new norm is: absolutely nothing. They'd rather whine and complain than actually work for their 6-figure salaries. Maybe they think it makes them look... manly ... or something.

    Yeah, something.

    July 30, 2014 12:11 am at 12:11 am |
  12. Rogue351

    The GOP / Tea Party will never understand. They think they are the chosen few that "god" protects over in America. The really strange thing that cant see is how similar their mindset is to the people that attacked the USA on 9/11. Their fear has transformed them along with the NRA to make them more like our enemy and less like americans. The want to be ruled over by religion and guns. They believe the end of the world is near apposed to living as free people. They choose to blame the government for all of their problems and insecurities. Allow as many immigrants into this country as we can it strengthens our country. If it was not for immigration via slavey, the Irish, Greek, Italian, etc etc we would be a nation a pale white people still fighting british rule. Our diversity sets up apart and makes us much stronger that those that first arrived here and stole the land from the native Americans. The rich are not the answer. God is not the answer. Diversity, science and education are the things that will lead the USA to greatness once again. Not war, hate and discrimination. It is silly and unproductive to even consider it.

    July 30, 2014 12:15 am at 12:15 am |
  13. warthog6

    Veterans will not be shoved to the back of the line behind immigrants who dump their kids in our lap and run.

    We will blacklist forever EVERY politician we catch prioritizing them over advanced appropriations for benefits. Forcing adoption of other people's kids while shutdowns bring our widows and orphans within days of getting thrown out of their homes IS TREASON!

    Impeach the TRAITORS, deport the hordes, and save the veterans!

    July 30, 2014 03:03 am at 3:03 am |
  14. GOP = Greed Over People

    "believe it is important to pass something to show they are taking the situation seriously and offering solutions."

    Like we needed any more proof the House baggers are more interested in optics , than solutions.

    July 30, 2014 05:57 am at 5:57 am |
  15. Croaton999

    What does it matter? King Obama has made the decision to grant blanket amnesty to them through executive fiat.

    July 30, 2014 06:16 am at 6:16 am |