McConnell expresses frustration with Senate delay on border funding bill
Tensions run high in Congress after the House passes a $4.5B bill that faces a veto threat from President Trump; Mike Emanuel reports.

By Adam Shaw | Fox News

The Senate on Wednesday failed to advance the House version of a $4.5 billion bill funding efforts to combat the escalating humanitarian crisis on the southern border — setting up a vote on its own, more bipartisan funding measure later in the day.

The measure was defeated with just 37 senators supporting and 55 opposing. It needed 60 votes to pass.

The expectation is that the Senate version of the measure would pass the chamber. A vote on that bill could come later in the afternoon and put pressure on the House to agree to that version instead.


Both chambers are scrambling to get the funding passed and sent to the president’s desk before the July 4 recess. The Democrat-controlled House passed its version of legislation on Tuesday night, which included what proponents called “guardrails” to stop the funding being used for immigration enforcement.

Funding for Immigration Customs and Enforcement (ICE) detention beds and Pentagon assistance to Department of Homeland Security (DHS) enforcement was not included in the House bill, while the latter and some ICE funding was included in the Senate version.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., called the House bill a “go-nowhere proposal filled with poison pill riders which the president has indicated he would veto.” The White House had issued a warning on Monday saying the president would veto the measure if it landed on his desk, saying that it underfunds necessary departments and includes “policy provisions that would make our country less safe.”

“They had to drag their bill way to the left to earn the support of most Democrats,” McConnell said. “As a result, the House has not made much progress toward actually making a law, just more resistance theater.”

Should the Senate pass and send its own version to the House, it is unclear whether it would have the votes to pass the House. Many House progressives, four of whom voted against the House version, would likely oppose the Senate version over concerns that it doesn’t do enough to stop the Trump administration immigration policies.

Rep. Veronica Escobar, D-Texas, told Fox News that “the guardrails have to be there” to stop the president from using it for enforcement.

“[Trump] is an untrustworthy president. He will use [the funds] in nefarious ways…giving him a blank check is dangerous,” she said.


Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich., and Ayanna Pressley, D-Mass., voted against the House measure on Tuesday, and that number would likely swell if the Senate version were to come before the House.

But House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., and others have asserted they would be willing to accept the Senate bill, meaning it’s possible the Senate could pass the bill and then force the House’s hand as the clock ticks down before the recess.

The congressional back-and-forth comes amid fresh scrutiny about poor conditions on the border as hundreds of thousands of migrants try and cross the border every month. An image of a drowned father and his daughter published late Tuesday and new reports of crowded and unsanitary conditions at border detention centers have increased pressure on Congress to grant the funding.

Members could also run out of time trying to blend the two bills together in committee, unless they postpone the recess. Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle understand that it is a problem for Congress to leave for a break without having produced a bill for Trump to sign.

Trump has urged Congress to act on the crisis, calling for both funding for the humanitarian crisis and legislation to close loopholes in the U.S. immigration system that make it harder to detain and deport illegal immigrants, particularly family units and unaccompanied child minors.

Trump spoke with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., on Wednesday afternoon, in an effort to try and reconcile the House and Senate supplementals.

House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Md., told reporters that he hopes that the Senate will incorporate some elements of the House border bill. Asked if it can get it done before Congress heads off for recess, he said: “Hopefully.”

Fox News’ Chad Pergram, Mike Emanuel, Vandana Rambaran and The Associated Press contributed to this report. Adam Shaw is a reporter covering U.S. and European politics for Fox News.

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