A Tale Of Two Bills

Bipartisan Senate Looking To Make A Law, Speaker Pelosi Is Only Looking To “Meet Liberal Demands”


SENATE MAJORITY LEADER MITCH McCONNELL (R-KY): “Fortunately, we do have a chance to make law this week on a hugely bipartisan basis. Yesterday the Senate advanced a clean, simple humanitarian funding bill by a huge margin. Thanks to Chairman Shelby and Senator Leahy, this bipartisan package sailed through the Appropriations Committee, 30 to one. And yesterday it passed the full Senate – listen to this – 84 to 8. We sent that clean bill over to the House by a vote of 84 to 8. The Shelby-Leahy legislation has unified the Appropriations Committee. It has unified the Senate. The administration would sign it into law.  So all our House colleagues need to do to help the men, women, and children on the border this week is pass this unifying bipartisan bill and send it on to the president.” (Sen. McConnell, Remarks, 6/27/2019)


The Senate Border Funding Bill Passed With Overwhelming Bipartisan Support

“The GOP-held Senate on Wednesday passed a bipartisan $4.6 billion measure to deliver aid to the southern border before the government runs out of money to care for thousands of migrant families and unaccompanied children. The sweeping 84-8 vote came less than 24 hours after the Democratic-controlled House approved a similar measure backed by liberals. The House bill, which contained tougher requirements for how detained children must be treated, faced a White House veto threat and was easily rejected by the Senate.” (“Senate Passes $4.6B Border Aid Measure; Pelosi Seeks Talks,” The Associated Press, 6/26/2019)

“The margin of the Senate vote, 84-8, underscored Senate Republican contentions that only their bill stands a chance of obtaining the president’s signature. ‘The House has not made much progress toward actually making a law, just more resistance theater,’ Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the majority leader, said on the Senate floor Wednesday morning. ‘The Senate has a better and more bipartisan way forward.’” (“Senate Approves $4.6 Billion For Border With Few Restrictions,” The New York Times, 6/26/2019)

“The strong bipartisan Senate vote was a rare moment of comity in Congress on the issue of immigration, which has divided the parties for decades. But the drastic need of assistance for federal agencies, nonprofits and nongovernment organizations working with migrants on the border led members of both parties to put aside the more contentious components of immigration and address the crisis at hand. None of the seven senators seeking the Democratic nomination for president were on hand for the vote because of the debate starting Wednesday night in Miami.” (“Senate Passes Separate Version Of Emergency Border Funding Bill,” NBC News, 6/26/2019)


Moderate House Democrats Support The Bipartisan Senate Border Funding Bill

“There is a strong sentiment within the moderate wing of the Democratic Caucus in the House, particularly vulnerable freshmen, that in light of the strongly bipartisan Senate border supplemental vote, House leadership should bring the Senate version of the bill up for a vote, according to a senior Democratic aide associated with the moderate wing. Several moderate freshmen approached leadership in the late afternoon Wednesday to communicate their interest in voting on the Senate bill, the aide said.” (“Senate Approves Border Bill; Pelosi And Trump Talk Compromise,” Roll Call, 6/26/2019)

“Some moderate lawmakers within Pelosi’s own caucus want her to just bring the clean Senate bill up in the House for a vote, arguing that’s the quickest route to getting a bill to Trump’s desk and delivering billions of dollars in aid to address the influx of migrants straining federal resources at the border.” (“House Heads Toward Vote On Amended Border Package, As Trump Signals Opposition,” Politico, 6/27/2019)


The Partisan House Bill Was Defeated Soundly In The Senate And Faces A White House Veto

“Tuesday’s House vote was not expected to garner significant Republican support. The White House announced it was opposed to the bill Monday, and House GOP leaders said they favored a competing bipartisan bill that passed the Senate Appropriations Committee on a 30-to-1 vote last week.” (“House Passes $4.5 Billion Emergency Border Aid Bill With Provisions For The Treatment Of Migrant Children In U.S. Custody,” The Washington Post, 6/25/2019)

“The White House has already signaled that President Donald Trump would veto such a bill if it reached his desk, arguing that the legislation ‘contains a number of problematic policy provisions that would hinder the administration’s efforts to enforce our immigration laws and protect children.’” (“House Passes Border Aid Bill Despite White House Veto Threat,” CNN, 6/26/2019)


The House Border Funding Bill Was Passed ‘Almost Entirely Along Party Lines,’ Designed To Appease Far-Left House Democrats

“The measure passed by a 230-195 vote mostly along party lines, with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi tamping down a last-minute revolt by members of her party’s progressive caucus who had sought, among other things, to ban private shelter contractors who failed to provide a basic level of food, hygiene items and medical care to migrants under their care.” (“House Passes $4.5 Billion In Emergency Border Aid,” NPR, 6/26/2019)

“A divided House voted on Tuesday to send $4.5 billion in humanitarian aid to the border to address horrific conditions facing a crush of migrants, attaching significant rules on how the money could be spent in the first action by Democrats to rein in President Trump’s immigration crackdown. But the package, which passed nearly along party lines only after Democratic leaders toughened restrictions on the money to win over liberal skeptics, faces a tough path to enactment. A similar measure with many fewer strings binding Mr. Trump has drawn bipartisan support in the Senate.” (“House Approves Border Aid, Seeking To Curb Trump’s Crackdown,” The New York Times, 6/25/2019)

“The $4.5 billion package for the border, passed through the House almost entirely along party lines, includes strict conditions requiring private detention facilities to meet certain standards of care, or else risk losing their government contracts. It marks the second time in two days that progressive leaders forced changes to the legislation, despite reluctance to give Trump any funds for his immigration agenda. The House package does not address provisions in asylum law, which the White House has blamed for the influx of migrants.” (“Trump Accuses Democrats Of Inaction On Border Security Hours After House Passes Funding Bill,” Politico, 6/26/2019)

Speaker Pelosi ‘Faced A Mini-Rebellion In Her Ranks’ As Liberal Democrats ‘Push[ed] Legislation To The Left’

“Speaker Nancy Pelosi of California faced a mini-rebellion in her ranks over the aid measure, with many liberals and Hispanic lawmakers arguing that any bill that sent money to the agencies that have carried out Mr. Trump’s harsh immigration tactics would enable his agenda. Democratic leaders won over many of their reluctant colleagues by tacking on additional health and safety standards and requirements for children and adults held by the government, as well as time limits for holding unaccompanied minors. Republicans were almost uniformly opposed to the bill, which they said contained too many restrictions on the power of immigration agencies and inadequate funding.” (“House Approves Border Aid, Seeking To Curb Trump’s Crackdown,” The New York Times, 6/25/2019)

  • “The changes illustrated the power that members of the party’s liberal wing is now wielding to push legislation to the left. Some said they would not vote to send one cent to the agencies that have carried out the president’s harsh immigration policies, even with strings attached to rein in those policies and even if the package is intended to help vulnerable women and children living in badly overcrowded, squalid shelters.” (“House Approves Border Aid, Seeking To Curb Trump’s Crackdown,” The New York Times, 6/25/2019)



Related Issues: Immigration, Homeland Security, Appropriations