Thursday
October
23
2014
3:19 am
Weather

  Home
  Local News
  State / National / World
  Sports
  Opinion / Letters
  Business
  Arts / Entertainment
  Lifestyle
  Obituaries
  Calendar
  Submit Event
  Comics / Games
  Classifieds
  DJ Designers
  Archives
  Advertise With Us
  About Us
 
 
 
 

Check out our archive of Dining Guides - Yum!

House GOP weighs new border bill to break logjam
August 01, 2014, 05:00 AM The Associated Press

WASHINGTON — House Republicans expressed optimism on Friday that a revised, $694 million bill addressing the surge of immigrants at the U.S.-Mexico border would win over reluctant conservatives and give a divided GOP a political win.

Determined to head home Friday for the five-week summer break, GOP leaders altered the bill, adding $35 million for the National Guard and clarifying a provision on quickly returning unaccompanied minors from Central America to their home countries.

They also toughened a companion bill targeting a 2-year-old program that has granted work permits and relief from deportation to more than 500,000 immigrants brought here illegally as kids, stating that President Barack Obama cannot renew or expand the program.

The last-minute changes came after leaders were forced to abandon a scheduled vote on Thursday in the face of tea party opposition.

Even if the House passes the bill on Friday, Obama's request for more money to deal with the border crisis will go unanswered. The Senate blocked its version of a border security bill, and there are no plans to work out any compromise before Congress returns in September.

Emerging from a closed-door GOP meeting, Rep. John Mica, R-Fla., rejected the notion that it was a pointless exercise since the Senate won't act.

"It'll be the template for what needs to be done and also it might slow the president down," Mica told reporters.

Two of the fiercest immigration opponents — Reps. Steve King, R-Iowa, and Michele Bachmann, R-Minn. — said they were enthusiastically on board after meeting with leadership Thursday night.

"We got to yes," Bachmann said. "This is a tremendous accomplishment "

Rep. Richard Hudson, R-N.C., said the leadership did not anticipate strong opposition to the border bill from outside groups and Republican Sen. Jeff Sessions of Alabama.

The gridlock on the border crisis reflected the past 18 months of a divided, dysfunctional Congress that has little legislation to show for its days in Washington but plenty of abysmal public approval numbers.

The scuttled House vote was an embarrassment for the new GOP leadership team of Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., and Whip Steve Scalise, R-La., led by Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio. More troubling for the House GOP was the prospect of returning home without a vote on the border crisis three months before midterm elections.

"The American people expect us to do our jobs," said moderate GOP Rep. Charlie Dent of Pennsylvania. "We have both a border and humanitarian crisis to deal with, and they expect us to take action now."

The Senate blocked a $3.5 billion border package that also included money for Western wildfires and Israel, with Republicans and two Democrats — Louisiana's Mary Landrieu and Joe Manchin of West Virginia — opposed. Opponents argued that the bill amounted to a blank check for Obama with no policy changes.

The Senate vote was 50-44, short of the 60 votes necessary to move forward on the measure.

Congress did manage to approve a bipartisan, $16.3 billion bill to revamp the problem-plagued Department of Veterans Affairs and address the long wait times for health care for millions of veterans. The Senate overwhelmingly approved the bill 91-3 and sent it to Obama for his signature.

The Senate also relented and backed the House's version of a bill providing $10.8 billion for highway and transit projects at the height of the summer construction season, sending it to the White House. The vote was 81-13 for the measure that funds programs through May.

The failure of the House to pass the border security bill exposed bitter divisions within the GOP.

Some conservatives opposed any additional spending on border security. Others complained that the companion bill targeting the 2-year-old program that has granted work permits and relief from deportation to more than 500,000 immigrants brought here illegally as kids was not retroactive to 2012 when Obama implemented it.

Many Republicans have blamed that program for encouraging the migration from Central America, a point the White House disputes.

Sessions had spent days making the case against the House bill to conservatives, especially members of the Alabama and Mississippi congressional delegations. Rep. Mo Brooks, R-Ala., said Sessions' arguments swayed lawmakers.

"To kind of put it in perspective, Jeff Sessions is probably held in higher esteem than the Alabama football coach and the Auburn football coach put together," Brooks told reporters.

Over pizza Wednesday night at his office, tea party favorite Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas also met with a group of House Republicans. The involvement of Sessions and Cruz clearly frustrated Republicans who wanted a vote on the border bill.

"It's kind of shocking to me that some people are willing to turn their voting cards over to the Senate or outside groups," Rep. Devin Nunes, R-Calif., told reporters.

Democrats relished the Republican divide, with Rep. Jim McGovern, D-Mass., derisively referring to "Speaker Cruz."

But some Republicans countered that the problem was Obama's.

"There are still members who are convinced that they're going to be endangered back in their districts if we don't, quote, do something, unquote," said conservative Rep. John Fleming, R-La., who said he opposes any extra border spending.

"I completely disagree with them on that. I think by doing something, all we're doing is taking Obama's nightmare for ourselves. He created it," Fleming said.

 

 

Tags: border, house, senate, obama, republicans, sessions,


Other stories from today:

WHO: Ebola moving faster than control efforts
US auto sales sizzle in July, helped by discounts
62 killed in Gaza; Israeli soldier feared captured
 

 
Print this Page Print this Page  |  Bookmark and Share
<< Back
 
  


 
 
 
Daily Journal Quick Poll
 
Does the terrorist attack near the Canadian Parliament concern you?

Yes, extremely
Yes, somewhat
A little
Not at all

 

 
 
 
 
 
 
Giants fans be wary, man robbed of World Series tickets worth $1,000
With the World Series hot on San Francisco Giants’ fans minds, police are reminding people to be w..
Two dead in shooting attack at Canada's Parliament
OTTAWA, Ontario — A gunman with a scarf over his face shot to death a Canadian soldier standin..
US to track everyone coming from Ebola nations
WASHINGTON — Stepping up their vigilance against Ebola, federal authorities said Wednesday that ev..
Government ups air bag warning to 7.8M vehicles
DETROIT — The U.S. government is telling 3 million more car owners to get their air bags repaired ..
Turkish president says US airdrop to Kurds in Kobani a mistake
ISTANBUL — Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan says that the U.S. made a mistake in airdropping..
More >>  
 
 
  
 
  
 
©2014 San Mateo Daily Journal
Foster City news