A day after pulling legislation from the floor, House lawmakers have hashed out a second plan to pass a supplemental border bill today that will provide President Obama money to deal with the migrant surge on the U.S.-Mexico border.
“I feel very strong about the whole process,” said House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Ca., in his second day on the job. “There is different parts in verbiage, some people wanted to make different things clearer.”
The deal was cut Thursday night, after the House delayed the start of a five-week recess. It was refined in a 90-minute closed-door meeting with rank-and-file Republicans, who have been divided over how to deal with the more than 61,000 unaccompanied minors who have crossed the southern border since last year.
The revised House bill has yet to be drafted, but the details so far look like this:
• $659 million in the bill to pay for more border security, humanitarian aide for migrants and additional immigration judges.
• Additional money for states to deploy the National Guard, so governors can have more control over sending troops to the border. Some lawmakers say about $35 million will be added to the price tag for this purpose.
• Language making it harder to expand who is allowed to stay in the U.S. as a refugee. Some Republicans feared that the House bill made it possible to expand who can apply for asylum, so lawmakers have agreed to tighten the wording to avoid broadening those terms.
• Strengthening of a separate bill regarding Obama’s Deferred Action for Child Migrants order. The GOP has changed the bill so that it would prevent the federal government from spending new money to administer the 2012 executive order, which allows young people who came here as children to avoid deportation.
• Language preventing further executive action on immigration reform. This provision will likely be added to the DACA legislation and not the base border bill. It comes in anticipation for a major executive order by Obama, perhaps within weeks, that some predict will legalize millions more immigrants now living in the United States.
“There was no negativity in there,” Rep. Tom Massie, R-Ky., who was a “no” yesterday and now undecided, said after the GOP meeting. “I think [the bill language] all got stronger.”