For all their screaming about illegal children, the House Republicans came up with not a lot to show for putting their money where their mouth is.
House Republicans plan to vote Thursday on a bill that would provide less than a fifth of the funding the president requested to address the ongoing border crisis.
After more than 57,500 unaccompanied minors crossed the border illegally since October, President Barack Obama requested $3.7 billion to care for them, speed up deportation proceedings and attempt to deter illegal immigration. Senate Democrats proposed a $2.7 billion package. But the House GOP plan went from an expected $1.5 billion as of a week ago to less than $1 billion on Friday. On Tuesday, House Republicans announced the funding had been pared down even further to a $659 million package that was introduced on Tuesday.
“I think we should do something before we go home, and we’re working to get there,” House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) told reporters after meeting with Republican members.
Two-thirds of the bill’s funding would go toward border security, such as dispatching National Guard troops to the border, while one-third of the money is meant to provide humanitarian assistance. House Appropriations Chairman Hal Rogers (R-Ky.) told reporters he was “optimistic” that the bill would get strong support from Republicans, and said the lower price tag would help attract fiscal conservatives.
In other words, the bulk of the money goes to sending the National Guard to stand around in the hot summer sun. There’s not much else they can do; it’s not like the kids are trying to sneak across the border; they’re trying to get the attention of the Border Patrol.
Meanwhile, they’re trying to revise a law that was passed by them in 2008 and signed by President Bush that gives the refugee children from Central America legal protection. Now that President Obama is actually enforcing it, they think it’s a terrible law, of course.