White House calls on House to pass Senate's border funding bill

White House calls on House to pass Senate's border funding bill
© Greg Nash

The White House on Thursday called on House Democrats to pass the bipartisan Senate version of a bill providing billions of dollars in border funding and humanitarian aid.

Press secretary Sarah HuckabeeSarah Elizabeth SandersSarah Huckabee Sanders says she is 'relentlessly' attacked by women Sarah Sanders makes debut as Fox News contributor Sarah Sanders to publish book ahead of 2020 election MORE Sanders blasted House Democrats for their handling of the issue amid a push from Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiWords matter, except to Democrats, when it involves impeaching Trump Nadler: Impeachment inquiry a 'made-up term' but it's essentially 'what we are doing' Young insurgents aren't rushing to Kennedy's side in Markey fight MORE (D-Calif.) for changes to the Senate bill to include stricter "guardrails" to ensure adequate treatment of migrants at holding facilities.

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"We have already negotiated a broadly supported bipartisan funding bill. It is time for House Democrats to pass the Senate bill and stop delaying funding to deal with this very real humanitarian crisis," Sanders said in a statement.

The outgoing press secretary chastised Democrats for claiming the situation at the southern border was a "manufactured crisis," a refrain used by some party members after President TrumpDonald John TrumpSupreme Court comes to Trump's aid on immigration Trump is failing on trade policy Trump holds call with Netanyahu to discuss possible US-Israel defense treaty MORE declared a national emergency to secure funding for his border wall. 

"They have refused to work with Republicans to end incentives for the human trafficking that takes advantage of women and children, or to end the surge of cartels bringing in illegal drugs," Sanders said.

The Senate on Wednesday voted 84-8 to pass its $4.5 billion border bill, which includes nearly $3 billion in humanitarian aid. The vote set up a clash with House Democrats, who earlier this week passed their own version of the border bill, which puts more restraints on how the administration can spend the money.

Pelosi released a statement Wednesday night signaling she would push for an amendment to the Senate version that ensures health standards for facilities holding migrants at the border and limits the number of days children can spend in influx facilities.

Democrats are also demanding that any deaths of migrant children be reported within 24 hours and that lawmakers don't need advance notice to visit a facility.

The issue gained renewed urgency after a photo surfaced of a migrant man and his young daughter who drowned trying to cross the Rio Grande River.

Pelosi was asked at about the same time the White House statement was issued whether she would rule out bringing the Senate bill to the floor in the House. She did not directly respond, saying lawmakers would take it one step at a time.

A day before, Pelosi had rejected simply taking up the Senate legislation. 

“They passed their bill, we respect that. We passed our bill, we hope they will respect that,” she said.

President Trump spoke with Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellSupreme Court comes to Trump's aid on immigration GOP group's ad calls on Graham to push for election security: 'Are you still trying?' Harris keeps up 'little dude' attack on Trump after debate MORE (R-Ky.) on Wednesday before leaving for Japan. The president did not take a position on one chamber's bill versus the other's, but said he hoped the two sides will eventually “be able to do something very good.” 

“A lot of people are starting to realize that I was right when I said we have a crisis at the border,” the president said. “It wasn’t manufactured at all.”