GOP to huddle on border bill


House Republicans will huddle privately Friday morning in a pivotal meeting on tackling the border crisis.

The members-only meeting comes as Republicans try to figure out what sort of a package they can support days before Congress breaks for a five-week recess.

Conservative Republicans have aired concerns about passing any bill sending money to President Obama’s administration for border protection, suggesting it will be difficult for Speaker John BoehnerJohn Andrew BoehnerDems face hard choice for State of the Union response Even some conservatives seem open to return to earmarks Overnight Finance: Trump, lawmakers take key step to immigration deal | Trump urges Congress to bring back earmarks | Tax law poised to create windfall for states | Trump to attend Davos | Dimon walks back bitcoin criticism MORE (R-Ohio) to move a bill with just GOP votes.

Democrats have lined up in opposition to policy changes sought by Republicans, meaning Boehner can’t depend on support from the minority. 

Boehner on Thursday said leaders were continuing to talk to members about a potential proposal, but offered no details on timing or what it might look like.

“We’re continuing to talk to our colleagues, and those conversations are going to continue,” he told reporters.

On Wednesday, a House GOP working group recommended changing a 2008 human trafficking law to a $1.5 billion spending package. The changes would make it easier for authorities to quickly send young immigrants from Central American countries back to their homelands.

Republicans have been adamant that any new funding sent to address the influx of child migrants across the border must also be paired with policy changes that tighten border security and make it easier to quickly process and deport those people who came here illegally.

Boehner emphasized Thursday that the White House had previously expressed a desire to change the trafficking law, but then downplayed its support when Democrats in Congress opposed the move.

Boehner has called on the White House to reiterate its support and push back at opposition from Obama’s party.

“This is a problem of the president’s own making. He says he wants to solve this problem so we can stop this influx, but then he changes his mind," he said. “We’ve got a president who is AWOL, and the president ought to get engaged with this if he actually wants to make something happen.”

While the House continues to try to piece together a plan, Senate Democrats are working on a $2.7 billion border spending package. The White House requested $3.7 billion.