Senate passes $4.5B border bill, setting up fight with House

The Senate on Wednesday passed legislation to give President TrumpDonald John TrumpMulvaney: 'We've overreacted a little bit' to coronavirus Former CBS News president: Most major cable news outlets 'unrelentingly liberal' in 'fear and loathing' of Trump An old man like me should be made more vulnerable to death by COVID-19 MORE billions of dollars in new border funding, setting up a clash with House Democrats, who passed their own version of the bill earlier this week. 

Senators voted 84-8 on their $4.5 billion bill, which includes nearly $3 billion in humanitarian aid. 

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Sens. Mazie HironoMazie Keiko HironoConservative group launches campaign accusing Democrats of hypocrisy on Kavanuagh, Biden Hillicon Valley: Commerce announces new Huawei restrictions | Russian meddling report round five | Google's ad business in spotlight Democratic senators urge Facebook to curb coronavirus misinformation in other languages MORE (D-Hawaii), Mike LeeMichael (Mike) Shumway LeeThis week: Surveillance fight sets early test for House's proxy voting White House withdraws ATF nominee after GOP pushback Hillicon Valley: Commerce announces new Huawei restrictions | Russian meddling report round five | Google's ad business in spotlight MORE (R-Utah), Ed MarkeyEdward (Ed) John MarkeyOVERNIGHT ENERGY: New documents show EPA rolled back mileage standards despite staff, WH concerns | Land management bureau grants 75 royalty rate cuts for oil and gas | EPA employees allege leadership interference with science in watchdog survey EPA's Wheeler grilled by Democrats over environmental rollbacks amid COVID-19 Markey says EPA administrator should apologize to minorities for coronavirus response MORE (D-Mass.), Bob MenendezRobert (Bob) MenendezSenate panel approves Trump nominee under investigation Hillicon Valley: Trump threatens Michigan, Nevada over mail-in voting | Officials call for broadband expansion during pandemic | Democrats call for investigation into Uber-Grubhub deal Senate chairman schedules vote on Trump nominee under investigation MORE (D-N.J.), Jeff MerkleyJeffrey (Jeff) Alan MerkleyOregon GOP Senate nominee contradicts own campaign by saying she stands with QAnon Oregon GOP Senate nominee posts video in support of QAnon conspiracy theory We need just recovery for the coronavirus and climate crises MORE (D-Ore.), Rand PaulRandal (Rand) Howard PaulSunday shows preview: States begin to reopen even as some areas in US see case counts increase Congress headed toward unemployment showdown Doctors push Trump to quickly reopen country in letter organized by conservatives MORE (R-Ky.), Chris Van HollenChristopher (Chris) Van HollenThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Mnuchin: More COVID-19 congressional action ahead Economic fears deepen as US escalates tensions with China Pelosi says House is looking at bill that could delist some Chinese companies from US stock exchanges MORE (D-Md.) and Ron WydenRonald (Ron) Lee WydenHillicon Valley: Tech companies lead way on WFH forever | States and counties plead for cybersecurity assistance | Trump weighing anti-conservative bias panel House to consider amendment blocking warrantless web browsing surveillance COVID-19 increases importance of implementing reforms to organ donation system MORE (D-Ore.) voted against the bill.

Lawmakers had hoped to get a bill to Trump’s desk before they leave for the July 4 recess. Leadership indicated after the Senate's vote that they would be talking about how to reconcile their bills, but absent an eleventh hour agreement the border funding is stalled until after the break.

Sen. Richard ShelbyRichard Craig ShelbyTop Republican says Trump greenlit budget fix for VA health care GOP senators not tested for coronavirus before lunch with Trump McConnell, GOP senators support exempting VA health funds from budget caps MORE (R-Ala.) said he expected staff discussions and talks between the "four corners," leadership in both parties and both chambers, would start "soon."

"The House bill has got a lot of provisions that would not be conducive to a quick agreement," Shelby added. "We'll see if the corners fit; I hope they fit."

Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerDemocratic leaders say Trump testing strategy is 'to deny the truth' about lack of supplies Trump slams Sessions: 'You had no courage & ruined many lives' Senate Democrats call on Trump administration to let Planned Parenthood centers keep PPP loans MORE (D-N.Y.) added that he thought leadership and the White House could hold an "informal conference," that could potentially let them get a deal before lawmakers leave town.

"It would be an informal conference, maybe of the four appropriators or maybe of the four leaders," he said. "As soon as possible we should have it."

Though the House and Senate largely align on the top line figure for their border bill, they are divided over several hot button policy issues including Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).

Senate Republicans have indicated that they don't want to go to conference, despite the political and policy differences.

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Sen. John ThuneJohn Randolph ThuneThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - US death toll nears 100,000 as country grapples with reopening GOP faces internal conflicts on fifth coronavirus bill On The Money: Jobless rate exceeds 20 percent in three states | Senate goes on break without passing small business loan fix | Biden pledges to not raise taxes on those making under 0K MORE (S.D.), the No. 2 Senate Republican, told reporters both chambers going to conference, where they would hash out their differences, wasn’t a “viable” option.

"The House knows that they can't get a signature on their bill, and most of what they want is in our bill and ours is a bipartisan bill,” Thune said.

Sen. John CornynJohn CornynBottom line Five questions about the next COVID-19 relief package Hillicon Valley: Lawmakers demand answers on Chinese COVID hacks | Biden re-ups criticism of Amazon | House Dem bill seeks to limit microtargeting MORE (Texas), a member of GOP leadership, called the House bill “inadequate,” adding, “if people are sincere ... then I don’t know why they would want to delay this.”

But House Democrats have shut down calls to take up and pass the Senate bill as it's currently written, with leadership arguing they have some changes they want in the final bill.

House Democrats passed their own border legislation Tuesday after days of public wrangling among the caucus about the details of the bill.

The House bill does not include any Defense Department funding. It also doesn’t include $61 million to address a pay shortfall or $3.7 million in overtime costs for ICE. It includes myriad restrictions on how funds can and cannot be used and reinstates hundreds of millions of dollars in aid to El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras after the administration slashed funding last week.

As part of an effort to win over more progressive support, House Democrats added a number of last minute provisions to their bill, including requiring Customs and Border Protection to enact health standards for individuals in custody, including implementing standards for both adults and children for “medical emergencies; nutrition, hygiene, and facilities; and personnel training.”

But the House bill cannot pass the Senate and has gotten a veto threat from the White House. To drive home the message, the Senate voted on the House-passed bill but it failed in an 37-55 vote.

The Senate also rejected an effort by Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) to require more than $4.5 billion in foreign assistance cuts to pay for the border legislation.

The White House's request included $3.3 billion for humanitarian aid, which the administration says would be used to increase shelters and care for unaccompanied minors, in addition to processing arrivals. They've also asked for roughly $1.1 billion for other border operations like expanding the number of detention beds and providing more investigation resources.

Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar pleaded with Congress during a Fox News interview earlier this month to pass new funding.

"We are running out of money. We are functionally out of space," he said. "Congress has got to pass a supplemental appropriation that President Trump has asked for." 

But Congress appears poised to miss that deadline absent a late U-turn by House Democrats or a quick agreement by leadership to make changes to the Senate bill.

Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiBottom line This week: Surveillance fight sets early test for House's proxy voting Women suffering steeper job losses in COVID-19 economy MORE (D-Calif.) told reporters on Wednesday that she would not move the Senate bill.

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

Schumer backed up Pelosi saying that he prefers the Senate bill, but if the Senate bill passes “there should be a quick conference.”

He said that Pelosi had asked for four changes, that he said were reasonable.

"They're basic checks so that DHS [the Department of Homeland Security] doesn't do the kinds of things that no one wants to see them do," Schumer said, while declining to discuss specifics.

Shelby warned that the differences between the two bills were significant, but that he wanted to see the details of what Pelosi is asking for.

"We heard it was a few," he said, "and then we were shown it was many."

Updated at 5:26 p.m.