Human Services

Senate GOP border aid package to largely track Trump request
Top Democrat on Appropriations details demands that will earn votes on measure

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell outlined the border supplemental aid package the Senate will move in the coming days. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call)

Senate Republicans appear likely to bless President Donald Trump’s $4.5 billion emergency border funding request in its entirety, gambling that either just enough Democrats will fall in line or they’ll be able to send a signal to the White House that it’s time to negotiate.

The Senate Appropriations Committee is expected to mark up a yet-to-be-unveiled draft supplemental measure June 19. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Wednesday it will contain $4.5 billion, including “more than $3 billion” for food, shelter, medical care and other necessities for the thousands of unaccompanied minors and families seeking refuge from violence in their home countries, many from the “Northern Triangle” of Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador.

Lindsey Graham confronted with the ghosts of the ‘gang of 8’
“We would have a very different situation” had that bill passed, acting DHS secretary says

Kevin McAleenan, acting Homeland Security secretary, says the border situation would have been better than it is now had the ‘gang of eight’ legislation from 2013 been enacted. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

If Senate Judiciary Chairman Lindsey Graham is looking for strategies on moving his immigration overhaul legislation, acting Homeland Security Secretary Kevin McAleenan presented one possible path: Graham’s old work with the “gang of eight” that produced a bill the Senate passed in 2013 with a veto-proof majority. 

At a hearing Tuesday before Graham’s panel, McAleenan said the current border situation now wouldn’t be as bad if the bipartisan gang of eight compromise of 2013 — which passed the Democratic Senate 68-32 but was never taken up by the Republican House — had become law.

Border spending package seeks aid for migrants, but no money for Trump’s wall
The Senate Appropriations Committee plans to take up a supplemental spending bill to address the migrant surge next week

Chairman Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., conducts a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing in Dirksen Building titled “The Secure and Protect Act: a Legislative Fix to the Crisis at the Southwest Border,” on Tuesday, June 11, 2019. Kevin McAleenan, acting secretary of Department of Homeland Security, testified. Graham said the Senate Appropriations Committee plans to take up a supplemental spending bill last week to address the surge of migrants at the U.S.-Mexico border. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

The Senate Appropriations Committee plans to take up a supplemental spending bill next week to address the surge of migrants at the U.S. southern border, South Carolina Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham said Tuesday.

The decision marked the first sign of movement on a stand-alone border funding bill, which President Donald Trump first requested on May 1. Republican leaders had tried to include the money in a $19.1 billion aid package for victims of natural disasters that cleared Congress last week, but Democrats objected, citing various concerns over family detention policies and information sharing about undocumented immigrants among federal agencies.

Repeal of abortion funding ban won’t be part of spending debate, sponsor says
Longstanding Hyde amendment unlikely to be addressed on House floor this week

Rep. Pramila Jayapal, D-Wash., speaks with reporters as she leaves the House Democrats’ caucus meeting in the Capitol on June 4, 2019. Jayapal co-sponsored a proposal to repeal the Hyde amendment. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

An amendment to repeal a 42-year-old prohibition on using federal public health funds for abortions won’t be part of the debate on a nearly $1 trillion appropriations bill covering the Department of Health and Human Services and several other agencies.

That was the view Monday night of Rep. Pramila Jayapal, a Democrat from Washington, who co-sponsored a proposal to repeal the Hyde amendment, which the appropriations package headed to the House floor this week would continue. The language is named for its author, the late Illinois Republican Rep. Henry J. Hyde.

Campaign season means ‘law and order.’ Can we break the habit?
Congress took a step toward criminal justice reform last year, but it wasn’t enough

The U.S. prison population has grown since the 1970s from 300,000 to 2.3 million. A bipartisan effort in December, led in part by Sen. Cory Booker, was a respectable start — but one bill isn’t going to solve the problem, Curtis writes. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

OPINION — When mass incarceration in America gets political attention, it’s often so the issue can be used as a cudgel to attack opponents. Thus, the president Twitter-shames former Vice President Joe Biden for his role in promoting the 1994 crime bill even as Donald Trump’s own history of hounding the Central Park Five is highlighted in “When They See Us,” director Ava DuVernay’s Netflix miniseries on the teens accused, convicted, imprisoned and eventually exonerated.

When Democrats and Republicans cooperated on a criminal justice reform bill late last year that made modest changes in the federal system, they congratulated themselves for getting something done in gridlocked Washington.

House finally sends $19.1 billion disaster aid package to Trump’s desk
Trump has said he supports the bill and is expected to sign it

Rep. Thomas Massie, R-Ky., was among the Republicans who blocked a disaster aid bill from moving over the Memorial Day recess. That bill now heads to the president’s desk. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

The House sent a $19.1 billion disaster aid package to President Donald Trump’s desk Monday, more than a week after the first of three Republican holdouts objected to passing the legislation by unanimous consent.

The bill, which was the result of months of exhaustive negotiations between Republicans, Democrats and the White House, received a vote of 354-58 just hours after the House returned from a weeklong Memorial Day break. 

Abortion-rights groups sue HHS over conscience rule
It’s the fourth major lawsuit challenging a Trump administration rule that may affect abortion and contraception access

Dr. Leana Wen, president of Planned Parenthood, speaks at an abortion-rights rally at Supreme Court in Washington to protest new state bans on abortion services on May 21, 2019. On Tuesday several abortion-rights and LGBT advocacy groups announced they would file a challenge a Trump Administration rule that may affect access to abortion and contraception. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Several abortion-rights and LGBT advocacy groups announced Tuesday that they filed the fourth major lawsuit challenging a Trump administration rule that could affect access to abortion and contraception.

The challenge comes a week after state attorneys general filed different lawsuits also attempting to block the final rule from going into effect this year.

Sharing info on potential sponsors of unaccompanied children stalled border funding
House Democrats sought to prevent HHS from sharing info with DHS

Homeland Security Appropriations Subcommittee Chairwoman Lucille Roybal-Allard, D-Calif., has been critical of the information-sharing pact, particularly after reports of ICE agents arresting potential sponsors based on their immigration status, even those without criminal records. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

After House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said May 16 that she hoped the emerging disaster aid supplemental would also carry funding to care for children and families pouring over the border in record numbers, it seemed like a fait accompli.

But as the days turned into a week, something was clearly wrong. And suddenly, Senate leaders agreed to drop billions of dollars the Trump administration wanted to address what both sides called a humanitarian crisis at the border, in the interest of getting the $19.1 billion disaster aid bill over the finish line.

Trump proposal would roll back transgender, abortion protections
HHS says new regulation would save $3.6 billion in the first five years

Abortion opponents demonstrate outside the Supreme Court in June 2018. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The Department of Health and Human Services on Friday proposed to roll back protections under the 2010 health care law related to sex discrimination, which some advocates worry could affect health care access for people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender.

The proposal would reverse an Obama-era policy that protected gender identity and termination of pregnancy under non-discrimination protections.

GOP Rep. causes $19.1 billion disaster aid bill to stall in House
The package had been passed in the Senate after border-related funding, sought by the White House, was removed

Rep. Chip Roy, R-Texas, left, and Rep. Carol Miller, R-W.Va., listen during the House Oversight and Reform Committee markup on April 2, 2019. He said Friday that he would block a unanimous consent request to block a $19.1 billion supplemental appropriations bill for victims of recent natural disasters. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

The House was unable to clear a $19.1 billion disaster aid bill Friday, after a freshman GOP lawmaker objected to a unanimous consent request.

Rep. Chip Roy, R-Texas, blocked the measure during the chamber's pro forma session, after telling reporters he had concerns about the process as well as the substance of the legislation.