Appropriations Committee Chair Rogers says Obama request for border funds 'too much'
The Republican chairman of the House Appropriations Committee says that the administration's request for $3.8 billion in funds to deal with the border crisis is "too much" and needs to be trimmed.
House Appropriations Committee Chairman Hal Rogers (R-Ky.) told reporters that his panel is scouring through the numbers in Obama’s $3.7 billion supplemental ask, but indicated that the funding level will have to be cut to get House approval.
"It’s too much money,” Rogers said of Obama’s request, which he sent to Congress earlier this week. “We don’t need it. Secondly, a lot of what he’s requesting is being considered in the regular bill process.”
Much of the funding depends on whether Congress decides to alter a 2008 anti-trafficking law that effectively makes it more difficult to deport children who come here illegally from countries that do not border the United States — a measure at the heart of the congressional debate.
Though not explicating endorsing a change to the 2008 law, Rogers said doing so would “greatly change the dynamics of what we have to spend money for in terms of taking care of these refugees.” A working group established by Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) already has endorsed revising the law, as has the speaker himself.
But amending the law would run into stiff resistance from liberal and Latino lawmakers, who are urging Congress not to make any changes that will limit protections for children fleeing dangerous circumstances back home in central America.
Democrats can't have it both ways. Either they endorse changes in the law that would stem the flow of illlegal kids streaming across the border or they are for an endless supply of money to feed, house, clothe, and process these kids who would end up being rewarded for their lawbreaking by being allowed to stay in the US indefinitely, alebeit illegally.
Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-Ill.) said during a press conference hosted by the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Friday that he will not vote for emergency funding measures if it’s paired with changes to the 2008 law that would effectively make it easier to send these unaccompanied children back home.
Hispanic lawmakers on Friday strongly criticized any potential changes to the law — a key condition of congressional Republicans to secure the emergency funding. Its members will head to the White House in the coming days to press President Barack Obama on this issue, said the caucus’s chairman, Ruben Hinojosa (D-Texas).
“When we see these children, we see the faces of our own children,” Gutierrez said. “We see the faces of our own nieces and nephews. We see the faces of our community, and we’re not going to tolerate the ones that want to exploit them for political gain and demonize them.”
One of the Hispanic caucus’s own members, Rep. Henry Cuellar (D-Texas), has been trying to write legislation with Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) that seeks to revise the trafficking law so that children from noncontiguous countries are treated similarly as those who come from Mexico or Canada.
The Texas duo plan to introduce the legislation — which they’ve called the Helping Unaccompanied Minors and Alleviating National Emergency, or HUMANE, Act — next week. Aside from equal treatment of all children, regardless of country of origin, their bill includes requirements that facilities holding them be kept in “humane” conditions, and the lawmakers also say their legislation will keep due process protections for the unaccompanied minors.
What else is Gutierrez doing except exploiting those kids for his own and the Hispanic Caucus's political gain? Of all the hypocrisy on display in this crisis, Gutierrez and the Hispanic Caucus is the worst.
Any funding request that changes the 2008 law will probably not get through the Senate, which means they shouldn't even bother. What's the point of funding a humanitarian crisis when you refuse to do the one thing necessary to end it? Republcans should pass the measure with the changes and then let the Democrats vote it down.
Let them explain to the American people why they want to continue to see tens of thousands of unaccompanied children flooding across our borders.