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House passes border funding bill to address humanitarian crisis

Image: Migrant families are released from detention in McAllen, Texas, on M
Migrant families are released from detention in McAllen, Texas, on May 16, 2019. Copyright Loren Elliott Reuters
Copyright Loren Elliott Reuters
By Rebecca Shabad with NBC News Politics
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Passage of the measure came after House Democratic leaders sought to appease members of their caucus only hours earlier with change to the legislation.


WASHINGTON — The House on Tuesday passed a $4.5 billion supplemental border funding bill to address the humanitarian crisis at the U.S.-Mexico border as reports surface of worsening conditions at detention facilities.

Lawmakers approved the bill in a 230-195 vote, with most Democrats voting in favor and most Republicans opposing the measure.

The vote came as House Democratic leaders had sought to appease members of their caucus only hours earlier with changes to the legislation.

On Monday evening, several members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus and Congressional Progressive Caucus took issue with parts of the bill and expressed concern about giving the Trump administration more funding to keep holding migrant families in detention.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., told lawmakers at a closed-door caucus meeting Tuesday morning that the legislation is "not an immigration bill, so we cannot make any immigration promises in the bill — it is an appropriations bill, saying to the world, these children — they don't have hygiene, they are not, in many cases, in their parents' arms. We can make a big difference for them."

Pelosi has warned that the Senate's version of the bill, negotiated between Democrats and Republicans, doesn't provide as many protections for migrants.

Pelosi also warned her members, "A vote against this bill is a vote for Donald Trump and his inhumane, outside-the-circle of civilized attitude toward the children."

The Office of Management and Budget recommended that Trump veto the House bill because it "does not provide adequate funding to meet the current crisis, and because it contains partisan provisions designed to hamstring the Administration's border enforcement efforts, the Administration opposes its passage."

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., said Republicans would not support it but signaled they would back the Senate bill.

The Senate is expected to take up its version of the bill Wednesday, McCarthy said after speaking with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., and pass it by the end of the week before senators leave for a weeklong July 4 recess. The House and Senate will still need to reconcile the differences between their measures.

NBC News reported Monday that about 300 migrant children were removed from a border patrol facility in Texas after there were reports of lawyers describing "appalling" and potentially dangerous conditions that included inadequate food, flu outbreaks, and young children and teenagers not having showered for days or weeks.

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