House Passes Border Funding Bill Despite Veto Threat from White House

The House voted Tuesday on a $4.5 billion border aid bill, which passed 230-195 after changes were made to legislation to appeal to progressive and Latino lawmakers and get their votes.

The bill, known as the Emergency Supplemental Appropriations for Humanitarian Assistance and Security at the Southern Border Act, was passed amid threat from the White House to veto it. It aims to address the humanitarian crisis at the border, by providing humanitarian assistance and tackling the inflow of migrants.

The Senate is to vote on its own border funding bill and it remains unclear whether the two chambers of Congress will be able to reach an agreement that President Donald Trump will agree to sign. The Senate bill lacks some elements that the House bill includes while providing funding for the Department of Defense.

However, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi called the Senate bill a “good” one, sparking hope that the two sides may find common ground.

Yet, the question remains whether President Trump would sign a bill agreed on by the two chambers, and doubts about such an outcome were further reinforced by Senator Dick Shelby’s comments that he did not have assurances from the White House that Trump was on board with the bill.

Four liberal Democratic freshmen voted against the House measure, including Representatives Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ayanna Pressley, Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omar. “Right now, we are not rising to the moment. Children are dying at the hands of our own government,” said Omar in explaining her move.

“Thousands are being held indefinitely in cages. They’re being forced to sleep on the floor, and denied basic necessities like soap and toothpaste,” she added, according to CNN.

On the other hand, three Republicans joined Democrats in voting in favor of the bill. GOP representatives Brian Fitzpatrick of Pennsylvania, Will Hurd of Texas and Chris Smith of New Jersey broke away with other members of their party.

Prior to the House vote, amendments were made to the measure to include provisions that force 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.”

Language was also added which requires that Health and Human Services (HHS) secretary submit a plan to ensure translation services are made accessible to immigrants and inform Congress when facilities run out of space.

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