House Democrats consider adding border security to recess agenda

House Democrats are considering adding a border security bill to the agenda when lawmakers return to vote on emergency aid for states.

Under pressure from the White House, Democratic leaders in the House were discussing on Friday the possibility of adding the Senate border security bill or a similar item to their mid-recess schedule next week.



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Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano told reporters on Friday that the administration has been in talks with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s (D-Calif.) office, pressing the lower chamber to take up the measure when it returns next week to vote on a $26 billion state aid package.

A Democratic leadership aide said that no decision on the border security vote has been made yet.

On Wednesday, House Democrats announced plans to recall the House from its August recess to clear a $26 billion state budget stopgap measure that the Senate finally broke a filibuster to pass earlier this week.

 

After the Senate on Thursday passed legislation to send an additional 1,000 U.S. Border Patrol agents and hundreds of additional federal authorities to the U.S.-Mexico border, House leaders were again coming under pressure from senators — and hearing calls from their own vulnerable House Democrats, as well — to act on the border bill next week. 



Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick (D-Ariz.), who sponsored a $700 billion border security bill that the House passed just prior to the August recess, released a statement Friday urging her leaders to commit to "not ending this session without passing the border security bill."



"Now it is time to say enough is enough — enough partisan maneuvering, enough political posturing, enough petty Washington games," Kirkpatrick said. "We have to put our security first and get the job done."



During a Friday conference call, Sens. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) similarly pressed House leaders to act.



"I hope the house takes it up when they come back on Tuesday," McCaskill said.



Democratic leadership aides in the House confirmed that discussions were under way, but stressed that no final decisions had been made.



Part of that consideration is the fact that the Senate bill is some $100 million smaller than a similar bill the House has already passed and, according to House aides, not in a form that would allow the House to consider unaltered.

Schumer said "it's too early to tell" what the House will ultimately do.



"The House hasn't given us indication of that yet," he said. "Our office is speaking to Speaker Pelosi's office, so they are interested in this proposal.