Boehner: Dems ‘jeopardizing’ border bill

Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) on Tuesday said Democrats are “jeopardizing” the push for an emergency border bill by opposing changes to a 2008 human trafficking law.

Boehner accused the White House of backtracking on the policy changes due to Democratic pressure.

“The lack of leadership from this White House, and President Obama’s refusal to stand up to critics in his own political party, are jeopardizing our ability to find common ground and help the kids who are caught in the middle of this crisis,” Boehner said in a statement.

The push to make changes to the law that would make it easier to quickly process and deport children from Central American countries has become a key point of contention in the debate over the border bill.

In its original request, the White House indicated it was seeking changes to that law to give the secretary of Homeland Security more discretion in handling the influx of undocumented children. But several Democrats aired concern about making those changes and said the administration has enough flexibility without changing that law.

The administration has struck varying tones on the matter, at first emphasizing that most children will be deported back to their home nations, while later assuring that the process will be handled in a humane way.

Boehner accused the White House of caving to pressure from Democrats.

“In order to resolve this crisis in a timely manner, however, the White House must engage both parties on constructive solutions,” he said.

Boehner said House Republicans will hear from their border working group, led by Rep. Kay Granger (R-Texas), at their conference meeting Wednesday. Granger’s group has been tasked with coming up with policy recommendations to accompany any increased funding for the border, but their report, originally expected out last week, has been delayed.

In addition, House Appropriations Committee Chairman Hal Rogers (R-Ky.) will present his review of the $3.7 billion measure to Republicans. He has already said the GOP version of the plan will be significantly less than that amount.

Lawmakers are scrambling to get a funding request completed in the next two weeks, before they break for a monthlong August recess.