The House late Friday revived and approved a Republican-authored border crisis bill after GOP leaders hurriedly resolved an internal battle that scuttled the vote a day earlier – but with the Senate on recess and the House soon to follow, there’s little chance of any bill reaching President Obama’s desk until the fall.
The House legislation was approved on a 223-189 vote. The new version of the bill adds additional funding for the National Guard and includes policy changes meant to speed deportations of illegal immigrant children surging across the southern border.
However, a separate Senate bill died on a procedural vote a day earlier, and no more votes in that chamber are scheduled until early September.Even if the Senate were somehow to approve the House bill, Obama vowed Friday he would veto it.
In the absence of any legislation that all sides can agree on, the president threatened to act on his own to address immigration challenges, potentially during the five-week recess.
“I’m going to have to make some tough choices to meet the challenge, with or without Congress,” Obama said Friday, speaking to reporters in the White House briefing room.
He later added: “I’m going to have to act alone, because we don’t have enough resources.”
But House leaders scrambled to corral the votes for the bill Friday out of a desire to pass something before the recess, if only to save face and put the pressure back on the Senate to act.
Chamber leaders faced a revolt on Thursday from conservative rank-and-file over a prior version of the bill, and were forced to pull it from the floor. But they delayed the recess and stayed Friday to cobble together the new version.
The new measure’s price tag is now roughly $700 million, up from $659 million — but still one-fifth of the $3.7 billion Obama requested, and a far cry from what the Senate considered.
Sources described the changes as relatively minor — “adding a few periods,” as one lawmaker put it — but nevertheless changing some minds.
The new bill includes $70 million in National Guard money for both the states and federal government. It includes more than $400 million for the Department of Homeland Security to boost border security, and nearly $200 million for housing and “humanitarian assistance.”