By Amie Parnes - 08/01/14 03:44 PM EDT
President Obama on Friday vowed to “act alone” if Congress fails to pass a supplemental funding bill to deal with child immigrants crossing the border.
Obama said federal authorities don’t have the resources to deal with the wave of unaccompanied children unless action is taken.
He also ripped into Republicans for failing to approve legislation. The House is set to consider a $694 million funding bill later today — far less than the $3.7 billion requested by Obama.
Obama torched the GOP legislation, calling it is “a message bill” and saying Republicans are “not trying to solve the problem.”
He accused Republicans of “trying to pass the most extreme and unworkable versions of a bill that they already know is going nowhere,” and said the current legislation wouldn't pass the Senate and if it did “I would veto it and they know it.”
A spokesman for Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) quickly returned fire, calling Obama AWOL on the crisis.
"When it comes to the humanitarian crisis on our southern border, President Obama has been completely AWOL — in fact, he has made matter worse by flip-flopping on the 2008 law that fueled the crisis,” said Michael Steel, a spokesman for Boehner.
The legislation the House is preparing would change that law to make it easier for authorities to return young people seeking asylum from Central American countries to their homelands. The Obama administration had initially sought flexibilities, but the White House has criticized the provisions in the House bill as denying asylum seekers due process.
The Senate left town Thursday night after failing to move their own $2.7 billion bill.
“Senate Democrats have left town without acting on his request for a border supplemental. Right now, House Republicans are the only ones still working to address this crisis,” Steel said.
The House was supposed to start its recess Thursday, but stayed after members decided to make a second effort at approving a border bill. GOP leaders pulled their legislation from the floor on Thursday after it appeared it did not have the votes to pass.
Obama said Republicans had made the bill “a little more extreme” hoping they could pass it before they left town for the August recess.
He didn't accept blame for Republican unwillingness to pass the legislation, saying, “This is a disagreement between House Republicans and House Republicans.”
And he slammed Republicans for not being able “to act even on what they say their priorities are.”