Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Monday that he would force a vote in the chamber next week on President Donald Trump’s request for $4.5 billion in emergency border funding, to see where Democrats stand on the issue.
He further noted that the vote was important for political reasons, as well as that it was not about building the wall, but rather about fixing the humanitarian crisis at the border.
“I’m going to bring it up freestanding next week and see if they really aren’t interested in dealing with this massive humanity that we have to take care of at the border,” McConnell said on Fox & Friends. “What’s the objection? This is not about the wall but about the humanitarian crisis.”
His plan to force the vote, The Hill writes, comes just days before the President’s request is taken up in the Senate Appropriations Committee. The committee’s chairman, Republican Richard Shelby, said last week that they were still drafting the legislation that has to be supported by a minimum of seven Democrats to clear through the full Senate.
The majority of funds, or $3.3 billion, requested by the White House would be used for humanitarian aid, which according to the administration would increase shelters and care for unaccompanied minors, as well as another $1.1 billion for other border operations such as increasing the number of detention beds and providing more investigation resources.
Both Democratic and Republican senators on the committee agree that a bill needs to be passed before the July 4th recess, but they seem to be unable to decide what to include in the agreement. While Democrats support providing additional humanitarian aid for the U.S.-Mexico border, ICE funding is a non-starter for them.
On Monday, McConnell also accused Democrats of being unwilling to help solve the border crisis and of suffering from “Trump derangement syndrome.”
“Whatever he’s for they are reflectively against. I think it’s safe to say the president is getting more cooperation out of Mexico than he is out of congressional Democrats,” the Senate majority leader said.