House panel rejects amendment barring family separations

House panel rejects amendment barring family separations
© Getty Images

The House Budget Committee on Thursday rejected an amendment to the House Budget Resolution for fiscal year 2019 that would bar the Department of Homeland Security from using funds to separate families detained after crossing the border illegally.

The Democratic amendment failed by a 16 to 9 vote along party lines.

“Children are being ripped from their parents arms along our southern border,” said Rep. Michelle Lujan GrishamMichelle Lynn Lujan GrishamFBI arrests leader of militia seen detaining migrants on gun charge PayPal, GoFundMe cut off militia that detained migrants New Mexico senators request probe into militia group detaining migrants MORE (D-N.M.), the amendment’s sponsor and the chairwoman of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus.

“Not one penny of taxpayer dollars should ever be used to inflict pain and suffering on a child in order to punish their parents and push a political agenda,” she added.


Committee Chairman Steve WomackStephen (Steve) Allen WomackLeft-center divide forces Dems to scrap budget vote House panel votes to boost spending by 3B over two years Dem spending proposal faces uncertain vote MORE (R-Ark.) said that while the amendment raised “serious concerns about immigration policy in our country,” such policy should not be taken up in the budget document.

“This amendment does not address the federal budget in a meaningful way. Rather, it seeks to change immigration policy, which is more appropriate for the committees of jurisdiction, Judiciary, and Homeland Security, and for a debate on the House floor,” he said before urging a “no” vote.

President TrumpDonald John TrumpThorny part of obstruction of justice is proving intent, that's a job for Congress Obama condemns attacks in Sri Lanka as 'an attack on humanity' Schiff rips Conway's 'display of alternative facts' on Russian election interference MORE on Wednesday signed an executive order reversing a portion of his policy that has led to more than 2,000 children being separated from their parents in the last six weeks.

Democrats, however, say the president's order will not go far enough to reunite those families.

“This executive order has not directed the reunification of the 2,300 children that have been taken from their parents by our government,” said Rep. Barbra Lee (D-Ca.) at the budget hearing.

The amendment was unlikely to have influenced immigration policy one way or another. While the budget is expected to pass in committee on Thursday, the Senate may not take up a budget resolution at all. Even if the amendment had made it through the budgeting process, the resolution does not have force of law. It would be up to appropriators to impose legal limits on the use of funds.