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Border spending package seeks aid for migrants, but no money for Trump's wall

David Lerman, CQ-Roll Call on

Published in Political News

The Democrats' fiscal 2020 Labor-HHS-Education bill, would go further and bar any HHS funds from being used to carry out the agency's information-sharing agreement with DHS. That accord, reached in April 2018, lays out a process for HHS' Office of Refugee Resettlement and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement to jointly determine the suitability of potential sponsors to take custody of unaccompanied children. Democrats charge the deal prevents sponsors from coming forward for fear of detention and deportation.

Trump's supplemental request also included $1.1 billion for DHS, with $342 million to expand detention bed capacity, a provision opposed by Democrats. Another $530 million would be for personnel costs and increased transportation and housing expenses.

An aide to Senate Appropriations ranking member Patrick J. Leahy said the Vermont Democrat had not seen the draft supplemental package being written by the GOP and couldn't take a position on it. Leahy supports humanitarian assistance but other portions of the White House request are nonstarters, the aide said.

Meanwhile House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer told reporters Tuesday that he's hopeful a bipartisan deal on border funds can be reached this month, before lawmakers leave town for the July Fourth recess.

"It is clear that we have humanitarian crisis at the border. We need to act on that. We need to appropriate significant sums ... to accommodate in a humanitarian way those folks who are fleeing oppression, violence, etcetera, etcetera," the Maryland Democrat said. "The key issue is are we dealing with humanitarian or are we dealing with enforcement? They're not the same. And there is substantial concern that they will conflate them. That's the problem."

 

(Kellie Mejdrich, Jennifer Shutt and Lindsey McPherson contributed to this report.)

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