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 SandersBill Press: Mulvaney proves need for daily briefings White House correspondent April Ryan to moderate fundraising event for Buttigieg White House press secretary defends lack of daily briefings: Trump 'is the most accessible president in history' MORE Sanders blasted House Democrats for their handling of the issue amid a push from Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiKlobuchar shuts down idea a woman can't beat Trump: 'Pelosi does it every day' Budowsky: Trump destroying GOP in 2018, '19, '20 On The Money: Senate scraps plan to force second shutdown vote | Trump tax breaks for low-income neighborhoods draw scrutiny | McConnell rips House Dems for holding up trade deal 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 TrumpFive takeaways from the Democratic debate As Buttigieg rises, Biden is still the target Leading Democrats largely pull punches at debate 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 McConnellOvernight Health Care: Fireworks on health care expected at Dem debate | Trump FDA pick dodges on vaping ban | Trump to host meeting on youth vaping Friday | AMA calls for immediate vaping ban GOP senator blocks vote on House-passed Violence Against Women Act On The Money: Senate scraps plan to force second shutdown vote | Trump tax breaks for low-income neighborhoods draw scrutiny | McConnell rips House Dems for holding up trade deal 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.”