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Road Ahead: Border supplemental talks could overshadow regular appropriations

Lindsey McPherson, CQ-Roll Call on

Published in News & Features

WASHINGTON -- Congressional leaders are hoping this week will produce a breakthrough in negotiations over emergency funding for the migrant crisis at the southern border so they can pass it before the Independence Day recess.

President Donald Trump has requested Congress pass a $4.5 billion supplemental to help the Department of Homeland Security process the growing number of migrants trying to cross the U.S.-Mexico border.

Democrats say they're willing to provide more funds for humanitarian needs related to housing the migrants while they're being processed, but they do not want to provide additional money for immigration enforcement in the supplemental. Republicans' willingness to back off their enforcement demands may be the key to a deal.

Until an agreement is reached, the House will likely have another slog of a work week if the chamber's floor drama last week was any indication.

Republicans used procedural delay tactics to protest inaction on Trump's border funding request, including forcing roll call votes on every single amendment to the four-bill appropriations package the House debated last week.

Debate on that package will continue this week, with Republicans expected to continue forcing roll call votes on amendments.

 

There are still 221 amendments pending to the package, which contains the fiscal 2020 Defense, Labor-HHS-Education, Energy-Water and State-Foreign Operations bills.

The House is expected to work through the amendments and vote on final passage of that package and then begin debating their next fiscal 2020 spending package, which includes five bills: Commerce-Justice-Science, Agriculture, Interior-Environment, Military Construction-VA and Transportation-HUD.

The Senate is going to do some legislating this week as well -- after spending most of the year so far on confirming nominations. It begins debate Tuesday on its version of the fiscal 2020 National Defense Authorization Act.

The House reported its version of NDAA out of committee last week. The two differing bills provide plenty of opportunity for conflict, with House Democrats and Senate Republicans floating different top-line defense spending levels and the latter seeking to use Pentagon funds for a border wall.

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