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 SandersMcEnany stamps her brand on White House press operation Sanders mocks NY Times urging DNC to investigate Biden allegations: 'I thought it was an Onion headline' Donald Trump: The Boomer TV president MORE Sanders blasted House Democrats for their handling of the issue amid a push from Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiOn The Money: Breaking down the June jobs report | The biggest threats facing the recovery | What will the next stimulus bill include? Military bases should not be renamed, we must move forward in the spirit of reconciliation Pelosi: Trump 'himself is a hoax' 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 TrumpProtesters tear down statue of Christopher Columbus in Baltimore 'Independence Day' star Bill Pullman urges Americans to wear a 'freedom mask' in July 4 PSA Protesters burn American flag outside White House after Trump's July Fourth address 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 McConnellPublic awareness campaigns will protect the public during COVID-19 Democrats: A moment in history, use it wisely 'Comrade' Trump gets 'endorsement' from Putin in new mock ad by Lincoln Project 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.”