McConnell to Obama: Stop photo-ops, deal with border

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) called for presidential leadership on addressing the influx of child immigrants detained at the border.

“It just boggles the mind that the President of the United States would rather fundraise in Hollywood than work with the members of his own party to forge a legislative response to this tragic situation — and to do something to prevent more young people from making the perilous and potentially life-threatening journey across the desert,” McConnell said on the Senate floor Thursday.

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The Senate is considering an emergency spending bill from Senate Appropriations Committee Chairwoman Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.) that would provide $2.7 billion to deal with the border issue, but Republicans have said the bill is a “blank check” because it doesn’t include immigration reforms.

“The president stopped defending his own policy reforms,” McConnell said. “Instead, he demanded a blank check that would preserve the status quo.”

McConnell criticized Obama for not pressuring Democrats to accept a House plan that would provide limited funding and amends a 2008 human trafficking law to make it harder for the children from Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala to qualify for refugee status. 

“A president’s job is to show presidential leadership and get his party on board with the reforms necessary to address it,” McConnell said. “Scuttling reform and prolonging a crisis are not a part of the job description.”

McConnell said Obama was too busy fundraising for vulnerable Senate Democrats up for reelection to deal with the border issue.

“What I’m suggesting, Mr. President, is that you spend a little more time actually doing the job you were elected to do,” McConnell said. “Press pause on the nonstop photo-ops and start demonstrating some real leadership instead. The BBQ joints and pool halls will still be there after we solve the problems.”

Lawmakers aren’t likely to reach a deal before the August recess starts at the end of this week.

The White House asked for $3.7 billion to provide legal services and temporarily house and feed the children. The agencies charged with looking after them are expected to run out of funding this summer.

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