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Policy: Budgets & Deficits

Four reasons Congress may not pass the border bill before recess

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Politics,Congress,Susan Ferrechio,Immigration,National Security,PennAve,Border Security,Budgets and Deficits

The odds of legislation addressing the border crisis soon just got a little longer.

Though both Democrats and Republicans in Congress want to address the recent influx of unaccompanied minors at the southern border before the August recess starts, a deal looks farther away than ever.

Here are four reasons why:

The sides are too far apart

There is a $2 billion difference between the House and Senate bills. The House on Thursday will vote on a $659 million plan to address the recent surge in migrant children and families on the southern border, including $197 billion for the Health and Human Services Department to provide humanitarian aid and housing. The Senate will take up a $2.7 billion plan for the border that allocates $1.2 billion for aid and housing.

In addition, the House plan would send the National Guard to the border and change a 2008 law in order to speed deportation of minors back to Central America. Democratic senators did not include either of those provisions and are likely to oppose them.

There's not enough time

The House is scheduled to take up its border bill Thursday, after which it is slated to adjourn until Sept. 8. There will be no time for a conference with the Senate, which plans to begin debating border legislation on Wednesday and will adjourn for the summer on Friday.

“I don’t think there is enough time to do it the right way,” said Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah. “And there is too much controversy over how we should do it and what should be done.”

Leaders have given up

The effort to pass legislation has devolved into a blame game as each side seeks to protect itself politically from public backlash that will come if they leave town for a summer break without passing a bill to address the border crisis.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., wants Republicans to take the blame, which will be an easier sell for him if the House fails to pass a bill. Reid on Tuesday made it a little harder for the House to do so, suggesting he might take a House-passed border bill and attach a Senate comprehensive immigration reform bill most House GOP lawmakers oppose.

President Obama is on the sidelines

The president has largely stayed out of the House and Senate effort to pass a border spending bill. Instead, he’s been holding closed-door meetings with immigration rights groups as he crafts an executive order that is likely to allow millions of illegal immigrants avoid deportation and perhaps acquire work permits.

Obama ignored a House GOP request to publicly restate his earlier support for a change in the law that would speed up deportations of minors from Central America.

And the president has backed away from supporting faster deportations, which Republican lawmakers say has made it impossible to find a compromise with Democrats who also oppose a change in the law. Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., on Tuesday called the House bill “unjust and inhumane.”

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