Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
February 14, 2016

Obama Asking Congress for $4.3 Billion for Border Crisis, Wildfires

Heather Piña Ledezma, who turned 6 on July 4, attends an immigration rally with her mother, who is from Mexico. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Heather Piña Ledezma, who turned 6 on July 4, attends an immigration rally with her mother, who is from Mexico. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Updated 11:54 a.m. | President Barack Obama wants $3.7 billion in emergency spending from Congress to address the child migrant crisis and another $615 million for wildfires, the White House said Tuesday morning — and the top House Republican appropriator suggested his chamber would act quickly.

A White House official said that the administration’s hope and expectation is that Congress will treat the crisis “as the urgent humanitarian situation that it is” and quickly approve the request.

House Appropriations Chairman Harold Rogers, R-Ky., suggested appropriators will approve funding.

“Plainly, the situation for many of these unaccompanied children is extremely dire, and the United States has both a security and a moral obligation to help solve the crisis at hand,” he said in a statement. “It is clear that additional funding will be needed to ensure the proper care of these unaccompanied children, to enforce the law, and to further secure our border so that these problems can be mitigated in the short term. Our Committee will focus on providing what is necessary to meet these ongoing needs.

“It is also apparent that additional funding to prevent and fight wildland fires – especially in the West where the damage has been so great — is necessary. Our Committee will review this proposal, and will respond appropriately to ensure that proper assistance is available to help the people and communities affected by these devastating fires.”

Michael Steel, a spokesman for Speaker John A. Boehner, R-Ohio, was noncommittal.

“The Appropriations Committee and other Members, including the working group on the border crisis led by Rep. Kay Granger, will review the White House proposal. The Speaker still supports deploying the National Guard to provide humanitarian support in the affected areas — which this proposal does not address.”

White House officials said on a background conference call that the money is needed to “solve” the child migrant border crisis, which has overwhelmed Border Patrol and other government agencies. About half of the money would go toward beefed-up enforcement and court proceedings aimed at accelerating the deportations of the children and adults. And $1.8 billion would go to the Department of Health and Human Services to pay for the care of children and families while they await proceedings.

The funding would also pay for alternatives to detention facilities, like ankle bracelet monitoring, according to a White House official.

The State Department would get $300 million, which would be used in part to advertise in Central American countries to tell parents not to send the children to the United States and that they will not be allowed to stay if they arrive.

The White House continues to separately want authority to quickly deport migrant children and adults — similar to what they have now with Mexican children at the border.

The funding would also beef up prosecutions against smuggling gangs and improve air surveillance of the border.

The administration also wants $615 million for wildfire suppression, which will allow the government to avoid transferring money from fire prevention activities. The administration has called for a permanent cap adjustment for wildfire suppression to avoid an annual cycle of emergency requests and transfers.

The officials could not say how many children have been removed so far this year, how much more quickly they would be removed with the new funding or how many beds the funding would cover.

Some Republicans have already suggested that any spending request should be offset to avoid adding to the deficit.


Obama Still Needs Congress to Show Him the Money

A Tale of Two Congressional Visits to the Southwest Border

McCain: Cut Aid to Countries Fueling Immigration Crisis

Gutierrez: American Drug Use Fueling Immigration Crisis

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  • Jazzy

    Everyday I wake up and check the news hoping renewui is going to happen. I’m a college graduate raising a 13 year old daughter alone. I’ve been on 5 different face to face interviews and still no job. I applied at Home Depot even, no luck.

    Now I spend each day asking myself this question.. How can I kill myself today? Will I jump off a bridge, or overdose on pills, or run my car into a wall, or slit my wrists?

    Congress, you have officially ruined my life. I’ve sold my business suit for food, sold all of my favorite things like computer, clothes, furniture.

    Today I feel like this may be the last day of my life.


  • Layla

    Hal Rogers, how very disappointing of you. Every last one of you need to be voted out of office in November. Folks, the ENTIRE HOUSE is up for reelection.

    Had enough of the Dictator in the White House, the open borders, the loss of our national security, the loss of nearly One Hundred Million American jobs to H!-B visa holders????

    Vote the CROOKS OUT, as many as you can get in this election. We can get the rest in 2016 and 2018.

  • Yonatan YONATAN

    What about the three million unemployed families here ,still without an extension of benefits, since late last December? These families have been driven to financial ruin over the past six months, due to the inaction of the senate to pass the extension bill. These families have lost everything they have ever worked for, while the politicians play their party politics. Both political parties have FAILED these families, and have shown a total disregard for the poor and unemployed, and jobless in this country. While billions are sent to the Ukraine, and more money spent on the defense of Europe, these American families are left to struggle on their own, falling deeper and deeper into debt. The government spends more time arguing than on fixing the real problems that we’re facing. I’m referring to the poor, because life’s still a holiday for the wealthy in our country.

  • Raylusk

    The Senate did pass a bill to extend unemployment. You are delusional to think otherwise. It’s the House GOP to won’t pass any extension and Boehner has clearly said they won’t. This is not the fault of Democrats and for you to claim it is ludicrous. As far as billions going to Ukraine that is just an outright fabrication. We seen a couple of billion a year on ALL foreign aid. Now I do agree that money would be better spent here but the unemployed need to put the issue of the extension of benefits right on the shoulders of the GOP. The GOP have failed you and if you vote for any conservative in the future then you support what they have done to you.

  • Raylusk

    You missed the moral of the story here. It’s never ever count on conservatives to help you. They are only there in order to destroy our government. The Senate which is controlled by Democrats passed a UI extension months ago but conservatives in the House have blocked it from even seeing a vote. My guess is that many of those that relied on UI also voted for conservatives. Maybe this will be a wake up call for them.

  • Jazzy

    No you missed the moral. When I do commit suicide I hope to take you down with me.

  • Raylusk

    Why would you take me down with you. I support the UI extension. Take your anger out on the real culprits. The conservatives in Congress and those that vote for them.

  • ShadrachSmith

    Pitiful, just pitiful. What will Obama do till then…nothing? Obama can’t pass the buck, he is POTUS.

  • Layla

    Something interesting is going on. Refugees are being sent to resettlement camps in RED STATES. Could Obama and the Democraps be corrupt? Nah…..

    Congress knows this, Congress knows that nearly One Hundred Million American citizens have lost their jobs to H1-B visa holders.

    Congress knows that the majority of jobs created went to foreigners.

    Congress must be voted out of office in November.

  • Layla

    BS. Ask the Senate how many jobs bills from the House they have turned down. Time to cut the politics and take your medicine.

  • Layla

    Hang in their, Jazzy. Help is on the way.

  • Layla

    Ray, I think it was YOU who misses the point. The Great Divider in the White House is not a friend to the American people. Blacks now know this, young people graduating from universities now know this, and most who voted for Obama know this now. You may spread all the hate manure and propaganda you wish, but the “chickens have come home to roost.”

    America wants no more of this. You’ve lost your base because we can’t live. Greed and power are killing this country and Americans ARE going to vote you out, both sides.

  • Layla

    Obama can’t successfully pass gas.

  • Layla

    Anybody reading this and reading Jazzy’s statement needs to be ashamed and give some real thought to your motives in supporting what is going on in the Congress.

    You have trashed America for the last time and we are not going to stand for it anymore. We are not the world’s toilet, we are a free nation and every elected official on Capitol Hill swore to an oath to protect this country from all enemies, “foreign and domestic.”

    You have failed your country and your people. And still you sit there, doing nothing.

  • lisa a

    No but he can pass the blame.

  • Raylusk

    It’s not just red states. You are clueless.

  • Raylusk

    I have missed no point. And if you think both sides are going to get voted out you need mental help immediately. Now take your ridiculous comments and go troll somewhere else.

  • Layla
  • Layla

    Nobody is buying it anymore. However, the GOP are greatly underestimating the anger at them for not closing the borders, defunding this President. I think we all know that he needs to be impeached.

  • Layla

    Go and troll somewhere else? I’ll leave it up to the readers who the “troll” is.

  • Rita__A

    NO! This is your crisis Mr. President, not ours! People have to know they just cannot come here and get on welfare, health care ETC. This is your doing. Our cost of living has gone down to half of what I had two years ago. NO more money.

  • BMarie

    If Congress is actually going to act fast to authorize spending billions to process illegals thru the courts, which will take years, why don’t they instead act fast to change the law so that we can just deport all these new illegals immediately? American citizens are in need of help and we should be doing that instead of throwing more money away on this nonsense. Instead we are putting the illegals on planes and buses and taking them to detention centers, when instead they should be put on those same planes and flown back to their countries of origin, which would be a lot less expensive.

  • 1DUKEZ

    Obama wants 3.9 billion? No problem. Give it and offset the expenditure by taking it from the 7 billion dollar fine Citibank is paying the DOJ.
    Leaves 4 billion dollars to offset for another idiotic idea.


    Both the republicans and democrats have forgotten the three million unemployed families STILL without an extension of unemployment benefits, since late last December. Since the republican party’s refusal to pass the bill, these past six months has proven financially disastrous for these families. Many have faced evictions, home foreclosures, bankruptcies, and homelessness. While the republicans fought tooth & nail to pass the Koch brother’s oil pipeline bill, they totally dismissed these unfortunate families. Recently congress approved a billion dollar aid package for the Ukraine, and spending even more money on the defense of Europe, both political parties have walked away from these struggling families all together. We no longer here anything from them or the news media. It’s as if these millions of families disappeared off the face of the earth. It’s a sad commentary on the lack of compassion our government has for our poor and unemployed in this country.

  • Yonatan YONATAN

    Senator John Boehner, and his republican cohorts in the senate, are directly responsible for the three million unemployed families, STILL without an extension of benefits since late last December. They have single handedly pushed these families into further financial ruin and deep poverty, over these last six months, without an extension bill. While they fought vigorously on behalf of the Koch brother’s oil pipeline bill, they totally disregarded the suffering of these families. While congress approved billions of dollars in aid for the Ukraine, and more money set aside for the defense of Europe, these American families were left hung out to dry. Recently more money is requested to support the illegal migrant children pouring undisrupted into our country, at the border. The president is planning on assisting these children with tax payer’s dollars. While this is commemorated, what about the three million unemployed Americans that have been forgotten about, who are still in a desperate financial situation, in our own country? Why are our poor and unemployed never a priority to our own government?


    the government seems to have forgotten all about the three million unemployed families that are still without an unemployment extension since late last December. while the congress approved billions of dollars for the Ukraine, and approved the Koch brothers oil pipeline bill, the unemployment extension bill was refused passage by the republican senate. both political parties have failed these unemployed families, and left them in financial ruin and deep poverty.

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