Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
February 12, 2016

House Republicans Rally to Pass Border Funding Bill

King praised changes made to the border package. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

King praised changes made to the border package. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Updated 11:04 p.m. | House Republicans found the votes late Friday night to pass a $694 million appropriations bill aimed at stemming the tide of the child migrant surge at the U.S-Mexico border.

It passed almost entirely along party lines, 223-189, freeing Republicans to go home for the August recess able to tell constituents they took action to address the crisis — unlike the Senate, which was unable to pass its own border funding bill Thursday but left town anyway. Only a single Democrat, Rep. Henry Cuellar of Texas, voted for the package.

Four Republicans voted no: Thomas Massie of Kentucky, Stephen Fincher of Tennessee, Walter B. Jones of North Carolina and Paul Broun of Georgia.

The House’s bill, however, isn’t expected to go anywhere, with Democrats and President Barack Obama torching it Friday.

The bill already faced a veto threat, but it became even more of a messaging exercise for the GOP when leaders were forced to postpone their recess and toughen the bill’s provisions to win the backing of holdout conservatives.

Though Democrats were never prepared to lend votes in big numbers, the House GOP could at one point make some argument that its legislative package was bipartisan. Some Democrats originally supported tweaks to a 2008 trafficking law to make it easier for unaccompanied minors to self-deport, Republicans noted, and they hoped to pressure the Senate into acting.

Republicans had tried to appease their restive caucus with a separate vote to end the Obama administration’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, which grants stays of deportation to young undocumented immigrations brought into the country illegally by their parents.

They at last sealed the deal on Friday by making the DACA bill more stringent while broadening the changes to the 2008 trafficking law. The changes included allowing minors to remain in the custody of immigration enforcement officials as they await deportation proceedings, and on language regarding government investigations into whether the adults taking custody of those minors paid criminal smugglers for their passage.

One of leadership’s harshest critics, Rep. Steve King of Iowa, told CQ Roll Call the new package was “like I ordered if off the menu.”

Still, leaders burned by Thursday’s meltdown took their time whipping the votes and revising the bill.

Other members were still threatening to hold out because passage of the border funding bill didn’t ensure passage of the DACA bill, and the bills would be sent to the Senate separately, rather than in a combined package, all but ensuring the chamber would throw the DACA bill to the wayside.

President Barack Obama held little back in an afternoon press conference before the vote.

“House Republicans, as we speak, are trying to pass the most extreme and unworkable versions of a bill that they already know is going nowhere, that can’t pass the Senate, and that if it were to pass the Senate, I would veto. They know it,” he said.

“They’re not even trying to actually solve the problem. This is a message bill that they couldn’t quite pull off yesterday, so they made it a little more extreme so maybe they can pass it today, just so they can check a box before they’re leaving town for a month,” he said.

That prompted a retort from Michael Steel, spokesman for Speaker John A. Boehner, R-Ohio.

“When it comes to the humanitarian crisis on our southern border, President Obama has been completely AWOL – in fact, he has made matter worse by flip-flopping on the 2008 law that fueled the crisis,” he said. “Senate Democrats have left town without acting on his request for a border supplemental. Right now, House Republicans are the only ones still working to address this crisis.”

Obama, however, said that without a supplemental to sign, he’ll have to act on his own.

“While they’re out on vacation, I’m going to have to make some tough choices to meet the challenge, with or without Congress,” he said.

Moderate Democrats who were earlier this week prepared to vote for the funding bill, perhaps in just enough numbers to help make up for the anticipated GOP shortfall, suddenly saw the changes as too politically loaded to support.

“Any Democrat who votes for the bill, the repercussions they get, they deserve it,” Arizona Democrat Raul M. Grijalva, co-chairman of the Congressional Progressive Caucus and member of the Hispanic Caucus, told CQ Roll Call. “There’s no excuse to vote ‘yes.’ This is bad.”

Steven T. Dennis contributed to this report.



Republicans Vote to End DACA After Tense Floor Debate

Eric Cantor Skips Final Immigration Votes

Senate Fails to Pass Border Supplemental

Republicans Regroup on Border Funding Bill

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

White House Excoriates GOP Deportation Demands

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  • Puppyme1

    Vote in the Mid Terms people! Vote out these LAWLESS Democrats so we can IMPEACH oBAMA the dICTATOR!

  • Andrew Tracey

    There is no reforming DC. #Secede to Survive.

  • betsym

    Typical of the radical right wing republicans…watch them go down in 2014.

  • DrGeneNelson

    I believe that today’s House actions will fence in President Obama. Bipartisan legislation was passed in the House that asserts the “power of the purse” regarding Obama’s executive branch actions. If Obama decides to issue more Executive Orders expanding the immigration amnesty program, it will both help Republicans and hinder Democrats in the Senate and House elections to be decided in only 95 days. The RNC now considers twelve Senate seats to be competitive. If Obama uses his pen now, in about 3 months, the voters will use their power in voting booths to rebuke him.

  • Truth Happens

    So, 0bama, you can put away your pen and phone, ye tyrant. The funding is hopefully there to handle some of the mess you created. Now, stop canvassing Central America with your deceptive and dangerous propaganda.

  • Cynthia Proffitt

    The GOP are insane and spew nothing but vile hate.

    • Layla

      Are you confessing? Or is that more hate?

  • johnfkostrubal

    You Obamanites are disgusting . This Administration is purposely letting our nation be overrun by foreigners, then legalize them to preserve their political careers . Period ! This would create a One Party Socialist nation .
    Wake up !!
    Those who oppose securing our border and ignoring our laws are traitors .
    Do you realize, between 2006 and 2011, almost 2,000 invaders from known terrorist nations were apprehended at our southern border ? How many made it across ?
    Do you realize, that since 2001, more Americans and Legal have been murdered by foreigners in our nation illegally, than have died in Iraq, Afghanistan and on 9/11 COMBINED !! Not to mention the tens of thousands of Americans and Legal that have been Raped, Molested, Assaulted and Robbed . The F.B.I. reported that almost 25 % of Federal inmates are non Americans .
    It is a fact that these invaders have taken much more out of our economy, than they have put in . The cost and demand they have on our Medical, Educational and Correctional facilities is astronomical .Not to mention the cost to our Public Assistance programs ( Welfare, Food Stamps etc. ) .
    Obama asked for $3.7 Billion to detain these invaders from Central America, yet a while back, he released thousands of foreign criminals back on to our streets because we could no longer afford to detain them .
    This is the type of individual you are supporting .
    You Obamanites are disgusting !!

  • Al Rex

    Let’s hope that the Republican gain back the U.S. Senate because I want to see this anti-White Obama thrown out of office. Actually, he should be criminally charged too. I’m not sure what the U.S. Constitution says on this subject but this avenue should be explored.
    Certainly, our forefathers never envisioned that a Black man would be President of the United States and never wrote down this prohibition in the Constitution because it was unnecessary considering that Africans were brought here only to be slaves and not to eventually become U.S. Citizens and be Police Officers,Singers, Musicians, Basket Ball Players and Presidents. At the end of slavery they should have been sent back to their natural environment in Africa. and NOT let them stay here. Stupid, stupid Whites and now we’re paying the consequences and wait a while longer and you’ll see how ugly it’s going to get in this Country when millions and millions more of them the product of out-of wedlock illegitimate child production reaches adult age and you’ll see the entire Nation burning the same as they’re doing in the UK and France and very soon in all of the White Nations.
    Whites wake up. We are threatened, we are becoming gypsies in our own Country and have been abandoned by our government. Let’s change the course of events while we have the power and resources and the will to do it. In the future there will be bloodshed if nothing is done because we are never going to get along with the numerous tribes here from the third world. It’s never going to be any assimilation. Whites don’t want to have anything to do with non-Whites and non-White don’t want to have anything to do with Whites. Does our Congress understand this reality?

  • Albert Aho

    Since 1955, there have been over 25,000 illegal aliens arrested for murder in these United States.

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