Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
February 11, 2016

GOP Leaders Pitch Revised Border Package, Hope to Vote Today (Updated)


King is now leaning towards backing the bill. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Updated 12:44 p.m. | House Republicans emerged from a closed-door meeting Friday morning with a revised plan to address the child migrant border crisis — one leaders hope to pass later today.

The latest plan will still require the House to vote on the border funding bill before being allowed to vote on language to stop the expansion of President Barack Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, according to members exiting the conference meeting.

Both components, however, will look slightly different.

The appropriations bill, which was $659 million on Thursday night, will now include an additional $35 million to bolster National Guard resources at the U.S.-Mexico border.

The bill, which also contains numerous related policy riders, will also expand on language tweaking a 2008 trafficking law in order to expedite deportations of the migrants.

The measure originally called for treating all unaccompanied minors apprehended at the border the same in terms of whether they could volunteer for deportation back to their home countries. Now, the legislation will incorporate the stronger language of legislation recently introduced by Republican Reps. John Carter of Texas, Robert Aderholt of Alabama and Jack Kingston of Georgia.

In addition to making it easier to expedite deportations, their proposal would allow immigration enforcement officials to detain children while they wait for deportation hearings and require immigration enforcement officials to investigate people taking custody of undocumented immigrant children to determine whether they are being compensated by drug smugglers.

Regarding DACA — the 2012 executive order granting stays of deportation to young undocumented immigrants brought to the country illegally by their parents — that language would revert back to the original legislation introduced by Rep. Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn. GOP leaders quietly softened the language in the earlier proposal, angering conservatives.

There was at one point discussion about whether the new proposal would include language to crack down on asylum fraud and raise the threshold for making an asylum claim, but members pushing for those provisions ultimately backed down, saying that as long as the issue was addressed later in the legislative session they would not demand it be integrated into this package.

Conservative Republicans are now more positive about the package and the process by which changes were made, with some of the earlier, harshest critics, like Rep. Steve King of Iowa, now leaning toward voting “yes.”

King said he was extremely pleased with the concessions he was able to extract from leadership.

“The changes brought into this are ones I’ve developed and advocated for over the past two years,” he told CQ Roll Call. “It’s like I ordered it off the menu.”

Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy of California said legislation had been tweaked to address concerns of conservatives, though there would still be a vote on the supplemental before the DACA bill.

“We’ll keep it the same way as we were running it before,” he said.

While McCarthy emphasized the continued push to move two bills, Majority Whip Steve Scalise of Louisiana stressed changes to the supplemental aimed at satisfying conservatives.

“We’re going to have a strong bill that shows how we can address this border crisis that the president refused to deal with. We’re going to keep working until we get our job done. The Senate’s going to leave without doing their work. The president refuses to do his work. But the House is going to stay, do our work and show that we can lead and solve the problem,” he said.

Republicans said the House could vote as late as 9 p.m. on Friday and then leave for its own recess, a day later than anticipated.

There is no certainty at this point, however, that all the votes are in place. Rep. Charlie Dent, R-Pa., came out of the meeting saying he could not guarantee the support was currently there.

And Rep. John Fleming, R-La., said he would not support the plan unless the voting order is reversed so that the DACA vote goes first and the border funding bill goes second — or if the DACA language is folded into the border funding bill.

The incentive for members to get their DACA vote hinged on passing the appropriations bill, but Fleming said he was concerned that it could fail because more moderate Republicans don’t like the stronger language.

Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., said leaders had to make sure both bills would pass the House.

“We also had a conversation about making sure that we don’t vote for the border security bill without voting for DACA,” she said after leaving the GOP conference Friday morning. “They both have to pass and we have to have the votes for both of them. If we don’t that would be a deal breaker for the conference. But we have the votes, we’re quite sure. We’ve been assured that by the leadership.”

There has been some pushback against the plan to send both bills separately to the Senate rather than in a combined package, making it easy for the Democrat-controlled chamber to just put the DACA language to the wayside.

But the Senate isn’t likely to take up either of the House’s bills, anyway: It left town on Thursday evening for the five-week August recess, itself ultimately unable to get the Republican votes to pass its version of a border funding bill.

Meanwhile, House Republicans remained all over the map on the chaotic process.

Rep. Mo Brooks, R-Ala., slammed GOP leaders for trying to pull a “Pelosi” — evoking the minority leader’s infamous line about having to pass the Affordable Care Act to find out what’s in it.

“We’re finding problems in the bill that would be caught and addressed if there were more time,” he said.

He referred, more than once, to the highlighted copy of H.R. 5160 he had tucked under his arm — a draft tagged with a hand-scrawled note designating it “The good Cruz/Blackburn bill that actually prevents funding/resources” — but stressed that he’s anxious to examine the final product.

“We’re being asked to commit to bills that have not been drafted yet,” he said.

But Rep. Phil Gingrey, R-Ga., said that while the process has been messy, he pronounced himself “pleased.”

“I’ve been here almost 12 years, if I had realized that we could work this well together as a conference maybe I would have stayed around a little bit longer,” said Gingery, who ran unsuccessfully for the Senate. “This is kind of a shining moment for us and I feel real proud of all of our conference and the new leadership team, they were under a lot of pressure and showed they could really listen to every member.”

Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi of California predicted Democrats would be unified in opposition to both bills.

The top Democrat said members of her caucus “didn’t like it yesterday. Now, it’s moved farther to the right.”

Alan Ota, Emily Ethridge, Humberto Sanchez, Warren Rojas and Bridget Bowman contributed to this report.


Republicans Regroup on Border Funding Bill

Ted Cruz Rallies House Conservatives to End ‘Obama’s Amnesty’

White House Excoriates GOP Deportation Demands

Get breaking news alerts and more from Roll Call in your inbox or on your iPhone.

  • Banshee2

    The do nothing GOP Congress that sues the President on Wed for taking administrative action when they refuse to do anything, then tells the President to ignore current law and do something administratively on Thursday. What a bunch of idiots. Wake up America. The GOP is too busy kissing the arses of tea-baggers to have time to run the country.

    • deano

      303 bills passed by the house sitting on Senile Harry Reid’s desk… and he takes 5 weeks off to Las Vegas to collect his payoffs

      • Nunaya Biddness III

        Its actually up to 352 BIlls now, and 55 of those are from Democrats.

      • 8TDays

        Show bills full of sound and fury, signifying nothing. Those bills are nothing more than political temper tantrums.

      • Banshee2

        Read those bills and you might realize why. They are crap.

    • Layla

      Oh, we’re awake alright. And most of us are planning on voting Congress out, both AMNESTY LOVING SIDES.

  • citizenupset

    Obama-care was passed with no votes from the right. Every bill the house passes gets no votes from the left. This bill being considered is dead on arrival and they know it, which is why they are passing it. The democrats will take the money, strip out all the poison pill stuff and send it back to the house only to have it ignored because nobody would be home. This is stupid stuff people. You may not like the bills the democrats pass, but every bill they passed is a serious bill and it has not harmed you unless you are making up stuff to say it did. Republicans are just here to re-fight the civil War, nothing else.

    • Nunaya Biddness III

      Wrong…The House has passed 55 BIlls from Democrats…Democrats! Harry refuses to allow any Bills from the House onto the Senate floor for debate. Right now there are 352 bills are sitting on Harry Reid’s desk, awaiting action and:

      * 50% of those bills passed unanimously, with no opposition.

      * 70% of the bills passed with 2/3rds support in the House.

      * 98% of them passed with bipartisan support. Republicans and Democrats working together supporting the legislation.

      *And yes, over 55 of those bills were introduced by Democrats.

      “Why won’t Harry Reid act? These are good bills; bills that put the American people back to work, put more money in hardworking Americans pockets, help with education, and skills training.

      We call upon Harry Reid to get to work before he adjourns in August to pass some of these bills. The American people deserve better.”

    • Daniel Lopez

      what aca approved not Obama-care..

    • Layla

      Not HARMED US? How about the QUARTER OF A MILLION HOMELESS AMERICAN CHILDREN living in cheap Central Florida motels? How about AMERICAN FAMILIES sleeping in the woods, GETTING NO HELP from this administration.

      You want to see Civil War? You may be seeing it sooner than you imagine. Our borders are WIDE OPEN, you know. Better have that gas mask ready…

  • deano

    NO amnesty not now not ever…stop the DEMONCATS from destroying the USA

    • I_hate_democrats

      …a day late and a dollar short. I suggest you learn the Mexican national anthem ( in spanish).

      • Daniel Lopez

        born yesterday.. it sound like you did. an no learn our nation anthem , that’s the one they want to learn furthermore not all brown people in your pee mind are from mexico, just like all white folks don’t come from ok.

        • I_hate_democrats

          Congradulation taco boy, I finally found some one who has a worse command of the English language then mine.

          • 8TDays

            Hardly. Just look at your posts. Dude, you barely speak American.

          • I_hate_democrats

            Can’t you read? I already made that point. By the way. We speak ENGLISH , not American.

          • 8TDays

            The day you can read and comprehend Beuwolf, or at least Shakespeare’s sonnets, without translation is the day you can claim to speak English. ’til then, keep honing your hillbilly-bonics.

          • I_hate_democrats

            I have read Beuwolf . I do not enjoy Shakeseare . Nice try though.

          • 8TDays

            Newsflash, sparkie: This is not about you. Lousy try, though.

          • NepotismIsDomesticTerrorism

            “I have read Beuwolf (sic). I do not enjoy Shakeseare . Nice try though.”
            Was that the Beowulf version in the Old Testament or the New Testament?
            Did the reading occur during social hours at the Freedum (sic) and Liburty (sic) Born Agin (sic) Baptist Church & Gun Club or during breaks in offensive line drills at the high school football team’s spring practice?
            Were you joined in the reading by your cousins, Billy Ray Joe Bob, Billy Bob Billy, Billy Sue, Billy Joe, Billy Joe Bob, and Spike, or just by your five half-brothers from your mama’s third marriage and your three half-sisters from your daddy’s fourth marriage?
            Also, please describe the quality of chitlins, cornbread, pigs feet, and fried whip cream served at the reading.
            Thank you…
            P.S. Learn to spell B-E-O-W-U-L-F. Correct spelling makes it appear, to the uniformed and gullible, at least, that you have some clue about that which you are so blindly blogging.

    • 8TDays

      Should have said this to the Pilgrims.

  • Nunaya Biddness III

    No mater what they pass, Harry Reid and Democrats will kill it in the Senate. The House has been doing its job with open floor debates and votes on the issues. It is the Senate and Harry Reid that are the problem.

    “The President is fond of referring to the House as the “Do-Nothing Congress.” But we have 352 reasons why it’s a “Do-Nothing Senate.”

    “352 bills are sitting on Harry Reid’s desk, awaiting action.

    “98% of them passed with bipartisan support. Republicans and Democrats working together to pass legislation.

    “50% of the bills passed unanimously, with no opposition.

    “70% of the bills passed with 2/3rds support in the House.

    “And over 55 bills were introduced by Democrats.

    “352 bills. Why won’t Harry Reid act? These are good bills; bills that put the American people back to work, put more money in hardworking Americans pockets, help with education, and skills training.

    “We call upon Harry Reid to get to work before he adjourns in August to pass some of these bills. The American people deserve better.”

    • 8TDays

      Yeah, and all of them offer more tax cuts to the wealthy, or privative SS and Medicare and Medicaid, or eliminate whole federal departments, or to eliminate the minimum wage, etc. Essentially, all those House GOTP bills represent is nothing more than show legislation, a demonstration, a temper tantrum. Which is why those worthless bills will never see the light of day.

  • DrGeneNelson

    Given that there was language in yesterday’s H.R. 5230 bill that would have facilitated phony “asylum” claims from Mexican nationals by allowing them to use the same process that is currently being used for Honduran and Guatemalan nationals, I have concerns about this less-than-transparent process. Most of the rules debate on H.R. 700 this morning seemed to be Democrat U.S. Representatives promoting parts of S. 744. There wasn’t much Republican pushback.

    I share the concerns of …. Rep. Mo Brooks, R-Ala., (who) slammed GOP leaders for trying to pull a “Pelosi” — evoking the minority leader’s infamous line about having to pass the Affordable Care Act to find out what’s in it.

    “We’re finding problems in the bill that would be caught and addressed if there were more time,” he said….

    • 8TDays

      Then Boehner should have brought to the House floor the bipartisan Senate bill that addressed all of these issues. Your move.

    • Layla

      The fact that BOTH SIDES left town for 5 weeks, and our borders still at great national security risk will be heard at the polls.

      Vote them out, BOTH SIDES. They have given us no other choice.

  • KenRob

    As usual, the GOPTP is trying to write legislation, not to help resolve the current situation, but to make things worse. And they’re slapping themselves on the back with high fives all around to celebrate another failed effort. The really pathetic thing is that they can’t see how insane the majority of the Country sees them. Either that, or they just don’t care & love the taste of the feet in their mouths,

  • Prismatic

    The House bill has no chance of becoming law. It is simply a way of allowing them to claim they voted on something so they can get re-elected. They just did not want to go home empty handed.


    The Republicans have been nothing but a severe disappointment to the American people. This is especially true for the more than three million unemployed families whom they denied an extension of benefits, since late last December. They have effectively forced millions of families into financial ruin and deep poverty. They have shown by their actions a true disdain and contempt for the poor in this country. They have voted against every bill that would benefit the unemployed, women, gays, and minorities in our country. They have prevented any positive change to take place by this president. They have thrown their fellow Americans under the bus, for their own selfish political agenda. They have aligned themselves with corporate America, and special interest groups, with deep pockets. They have proven clearly who they truly represent, and it’s not you or me. Sadly the democrats have proven no better. They also have turned their back on the unemployed.

Sign In

Forgot password?



Receive daily coverage of the people, politics and personality of Capitol Hill.

Subscription | Free Trial

Logging you in. One moment, please...