Boehner casts doubt on border bill

Greg Nash

Speaker John Boehner (R-Oho) on Thursday cast doubt on whether the House will be able to pass emergency funding legislation for the border before the August recess.

With the parties increasingly divided over changes to immigration policy, Boehner said he’s not sure that the two sides will be able to reach an agreement.

"I would certainly hope so," he said. "I don't have as much optimism as I'd like to have."

Boehner said Democrats have made passing a bill more difficult by opposing changes to a 2008 trafficking law so that child immigrants from Central America can be deported faster.

"There have been some comments that have been made by our colleagues across the aisle that are going to make this much more difficult to deal with," Boehner said in reference to the 2008 law.

The Speaker would likely need support from some Democrats in order to pass a bill, as some in the Republican conference are likely to oppose a package that doesn’t do more to secure the border.

But Democrats are lining up against changes to the 2008 trafficking law, arguing that debate should be handled separately from President Obama’s $3.7 billion funding request.

“What we’ve seen so far is going in the wrong direction,” House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said Thursday. “If they want Democratic votes, it has to go more in the right direction.”

Boehner said changes to the trafficking law should be part of any supplemental appropriations package.

"I don't know how you can address the problem down there without looking at the '08 law," Boehner said. "I don't how Congress can send more money to the border, begin to mitigate the problem, if you don't do something about the '08 law that's being abused. And it is being abused."

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) is pushing the House to also include a provision in the bill that would reverse the president's 2012 order to delay deportations of so-called Dreamers, or illegal immigrants who came to the U.S. as children.

Boehner declined to say whether the House GOP would include such a provision in the bill.

"We're discussing all of these issues with the border working group and the appropriators," Boehner said. 

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