House GOP moves ahead on revised border bill

WASHINGTON - House Republicans were working Friday to approve a revised version of their border funding bill that includes more funding and stricter deportation provisions in order to get enough conservative Republicans on board to pass it before adjourning for the August break.

The revised $694 million bill includes an additional $35 million for the National Guard and new language to clarify a provision intended to make it easier to return the undocumented minors that have surged along the U.S. southwest border since last October.

GOP leaders also agreed to toughen language in a companion bill that restricts President Obama from renewing or expanding a 2012 program the administration implemented to defer the deportation of children brought to the U.S. illegally.

A vote is expected Friday on both bills.

The changes were necessary after Republicans had to pull the legislation from the floor on Thursday when a conservative revolt made it clear they did not have the support to pass it on the strength of GOP votes. House Democrats oppose the legislation.

The decision to postpone their August recess is largely a political one--the measures stand no chance of becoming law. Senate Democrats have already adjourned for the break and the White House has issued a veto threat.

But Republicans did not want to go home in an election year without taking any action to address the border crisis. No resolution is expected before Congress returns in September.

"We're trying to offer a solution. It may not be the final solution," said Rep. Tom Cole, R-Okla. "Sooner or later (the Senate) will get it done and we'll continue to work on this."

Senate Democrats failed Thursday to advance a competing $2.7 billion border funding measure that included no new immigration policies. The Senate will not return until Sept. 8.

Political theater played out Friday on the House floor. House Democrats sent dozens of their lawmakers to the floor to attempt to offer the Senate-passed comprehensive immigration overhaul that includes a pathway to citizenship for the 11.5 million undocumented residing in the U.S. Their efforts were blocked by Republicans.

Democrats said GOP efforts to increase deportations and return the children home were inhumane and intolerant. "When did we lose our way? Let me be crystal clear. The changes being added to the (spending bill) will make the lives of the children worse. How we respond to children in need of safe haven speaks to the character of this nation, who we are," said Rep. Nydia Velazquez, D-N.Y.


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