Despite being met with opposition by liberal House Democrats, the bill, which calls for $4.6 billion in crucial border funding, was approved by an overwhelming 84-8 in the Republican controlled Senate. Which left House Dems with only two choices: hold out against the Senate measure in favor of their own – or accept the Senate bill.
Amid these deliberations, former Senate Republican Leader Trent Lott, a veteran of such impasses, ambled by the Speaker’s Office late Wednesday afternoon as a coterie of reporters stood watch in the hallway. Lott advised that if he were still running the Senate – where the overwhelming 84-8 vote spoke volumes – there would be only one clear path.
“I’d say ‘Eat it, House,’” Lott said with a laugh. It’s exactly what they did.
In the end, with little hope of the House version of the Bill being passed by Congress, Pelosi, D-Calif., was forced to bring the bipartisan bill to a vote, amid pressure from Republicans and moderate Democrats to pass legislation ahead of the July 4 holiday break.
In letter to her fellow House Democrats, justifying her actions, Pelosi wrote, “The children come first. We have to make sure that the resources needed to protect the children are available. Therefore, we will not engage in the same disrespectful behavior that the Senate did in ignoring our priorities. In order to get resources to the children fastest, we will reluctantly pass the Senate bill.”
The bill passed 305-102.
Schumer Takes Heat
Since the passage of the Bill, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer has faced lingering political backlash from liberal House Democrats over his role in the passage of a bipartisan border bill, which forced Pelosi to back off from the push by the House to include restrictions on immigration enforcement.
It is Schumer, and not Pelosi that is taking most of the heat from a “House” on fire. Those in the House progressive wing are turning their ire toward Schumer, D-N.Y., for allegedly not fighting hard enough for the restrictions they sought to be included in the Senate bill. Provisions such as limiting the amount of time unaccompanied minors can spend at an influx shelter, and reducing funding for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) by millions.
“Chuck Schumer f—d us,” a Democratic aide, who chose to remain anonymous, told Vanity Fair last week.
“Schumer threw all of the House Democrats under the bus and he will pay a heavy price for that,” another Democratic aide told Politico.
The Congressional Hispanic Caucus last week called the measure a “betrayal of our American values,” and one that they will “not forget.”
The drama has led to reports of a rift between Schumer and Pelosi. According to The Washington Post, Pelosi was “blindsided” when the Senate voted overwhelmingly for the bipartisan bill. A House Democratic aide told the outlet that Schumer “destroyed all of our leverage…by not being able to hold his people.”
“The Senate Democrats did us a huge disservice,” Rep. Pramila Jayapal, D-Wash., co-chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, told the Post. “The benefit to having one chamber controlled by Democrats is you have people who can fight and win. But that requires the people in the minority chamber to also fight, even if they lose.”
Republicans, meanwhile, have continued to focus on closing loopholes that encourage migrants to make the perilous journey with children through Central America in order to be released into the U.S. It is those loopholes, they say, that have led to hundreds of thousands of migrants arriving at the border in recent months — many of them family units.