Speaker John A. Boehner seems to be losing confidence that Congress can pass legislation addressing the wave of children coming across the border before lawmakers head back to their districts for the August recess.
Asked on Thursday during his weekly news conference whether he thought Congress would address the crisis before the recess, Boehner said, “I would certainly hope so, but I don’t have as much optimism as I’d like to have.”
Boehner noted Republicans are working with a group of lawmakers tasked with providing recommendations to address the border crisis — the task force is expected to make recommendations soon, potentially as soon as Thursday — and he said Republicans were working with the chairman of the Appropriations Committee, Harold Rogers of Kentucky, to come up with a supplemental bill to address the crisis.
Meanwhile, Democrats and Republicans appear far apart on whether they should address a 2008 human trafficking law that could provide refugee status for some of these children — and whether a supplemental measure should include changes to the law.
Boehner wouldn't commit on whether a supplemental bill would revise the law — "I don't want to lock myself in," he said — but he suggested he believed that additional money for the crisis should be tied to changes.
"I don't know how you can address the problem down there without looking at the '08 law," Boehner said. "I don't know how Congress can send more money to the border to begin to mitigate the problem if you don't do something about the '08 law that is being abused."