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US Senate approves bipartisan border funding bill
Photo credit: Stephanie Sundier
US Senate approves bipartisan border funding bill

The US Senate approved a bipartisan border funding bill by a vote of 84-8 Wednesday after rejecting a similar bill passed by the House. The bill provides $4.5 billion in border funding, which includes nearly $3 billion in humanitarian aid and funding for the Department of Defense and more money for Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE); the latter was not included in the House bill.

Both the Senate and House bills agree on the funding figure but diverge on where the funds are to be spent. The House did not allocate money for ICE and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and placed restrictions on them adding facilities and more beds. The House instead focused on allocating money for agencies such as the Office of Refugee Resettlement and Customs and Border Protection.

Republican Representative Clay Higgins (R-LA), who voted against the House bill, said that, “They stood by, as conditions deteriorated. Now, House Democrats are further delaying emergency funds and preventing border agents from safely and humanely carrying out their mission. They’ve blocked my Border Security Bill 18 times.” The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) also released a statement opposing the House bill, which said that it “also contains a number of problematic policy provisions that would hinder the Administration’s efforts to enforce our immigration laws and protect children. Among other troublesome provisions that undermine child welfare.”

The Senate and the House now move to reconcile the two bills in hopes of getting the final version on the president’s desk before the July 4 break. Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-NY) said he thinks congressional leadership and the White House could hold an informal conference that could bring about a deal before lawmakers leave town.