GOP 'not living up to rhetoric' on border, says White House

The White House blasted House Republicans on Friday for not moving quickly to address the border crisis.

Republicans on Capitol Hill are “not living up to their own rhetoric on this issue,” White House spokesman Josh Earnest said.

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President Obama has requested $3.7 billion in supplemental funding for the border, but neither the GOP-controlled House nor the Democratic Senate has voted on border funding.

House Republicans met Friday and signaled they plan to vote next week on legislation that would provide about $1 billion in funding.

Earnest said Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) on Thursday showed little urgency in addressing the crisis, in which a wave of young immigrants mostly from Central American countries has overwhelmed border authority resources.

“What we’ve seen from Congress is a lot of talk, but not really any action. That is a disappointment,” Earnest said.

He said border officials are dealing with “public safety” issues necessitating an urgent response. People detained at the border have immunization and other health needs, which Earnest said could be met by Obama’s funding request.

Asked if the White House would welcome the less expensive GOP proposal, Earnest said the administration has been “pretty clear” about what it wants. He also said the White House is willing to have conversations about additional proposals.

“All we’re hearing from the Speaker of the House is talk that’s not being backed up by any action,” he said.

Republicans have called for sending National Guard troops to the border, something Earnest said Obama is assessing by dispatching a team to the border.

The team will evaluate whether the troops could be “appropriately integrated” with other agencies working at the border.

Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R) announced earlier this week that he will gradually deploy about 1,000 National Guard troops to the border.

Obama is scheduled to meet with the presidents of Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala at the White House on Friday. More than 57,000 unaccompanied children from those countries have crossed into the U.S. illegally since last October.

Earnest confirmed the administration is considering a program that would set up facilities in Central American countries that would allow for asylum claims to be processed, but it’s in its beginning stages. The initial reports said it would first be adopted in Honduras.

Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernández told reporters on Thursday that the U.S. is partially responsible for the enormous influx because of the high demand for illegal drugs.

“The desperate conditions that exist in Central America is feeding the flow of migration from Central America into the U.S.,” Earnest said in response to a question about those concerns.