Boehner Puts Onus on Democrats for Tenuous Status of Border Funding Bill

Boehner says Democrats' rejection of changes to 2008 trafficking law could complicate passage of border funding bill. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The House Republican Conference on Wednesday will hear task force recommendations on dealing with the surge of migrant children on the Texas border, Speaker John A. Boehner said Tuesday — but he cautioned that the president's request for emergency funds will go nowhere if Democrats backpedal on support for expedited deportations.  

“In order to resolve this crisis in a timely manner, however, the White House must engage both parties on constructive solutions," the Ohio Republican said in a statement. "After first supporting common-sense changes to the 2008 law that is making it more difficult to resolve this crisis, the White House backpedaled and failed to include those changes in its formal request to Congress. Meanwhile, many Democrats in Congress have reversed themselves and now say no changes to the 2008 law are acceptable.  

"As I said last week, I don’t believe the American people will support sending more money to the border unless both parties work together to address these policies and actually solve this problem," he said.  

"The lack of leadership from this White House, and President Obama’s refusal to stand up to critics in his own political party, are jeopardizing our ability to find common ground and help the kids who are caught in the middle of this crisis.” Boehner wouldn't hint at how much money Appropriations Chairman Harold Rogers, R-Ky., would propose, though Rogers has said previously that he did not expect the sum to reach the heights of $3.7 billion as President Barack Obama initially requested. Nor would he say what recommendations he expects from the working group he tasked with crafting a response to the border crisis.  

The group, chaired by Texas Republican Kay Granger, has not released its plan, but some of the seven members have at various points confirmed that policy proposals would include employing the National Guard, adding more immigration judges and tweaking a 2008 trafficking law to make it easier to send unaccompanied immigrant minors back to their countries.  

Democrats have pushed back against changes to that 2008 law , however, and Boehner said in his statement that this has ultimately threatened passage of the whole appropriations bill.  

Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., is now articulating a harder line against tweaks to the law.  

"I never like to draw a line in the sand," she said at a news conference last week, "because unless you really can see the legislation — and that's why I said ... I'm open to see what is there ... but what we have seen so far is going in the wrong direction.  

"If they want Democratic votes," Pelosi continued, "they've got to go more in the right direction."  


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