Newly elected House Majority Whip Steve Scalise said President Obama -- not Congress -- was to blame for a lack of a plan to deal with the border crisis, saying House Republican leaders are “willing to lead.”
But the Louisiana Republican stopped short of saying he would call for Congress to cancel its upcoming summer break to solve the problem.
“We're going to keep working until we get this problem solved,” Scalise told “Fox News Sunday.” “Ultimately this is the president's responsibility. He can fix this problem in a day; he had chosen not too.”
The president publicly has suggested Congress should stay in Washington this summer until its reaches an agreement to deal with the recent flood of minors at the U.S.-Mexico border.
Fox show host Chris Wallace asked the lawmaker repeatedly if he would call for Congress to cancel its five-break break, scheduled to begin at the end of this week, if no deal was in place, but Scalise sidestepped the question.
“It’s ironic. We’re here in Congress right now and the president doesn’t want to work with us while we’re in town — he wants to wait until people are gone,” Scalise said.
“The president has a lot of time on his schedule to secure fundraisers -- he has no time to secure the border. He has not taken his job seriously in this regard. The House is willing to lead.”
House leaders from both parties say they hope to reach a deal to address the border crisis by week's end. But an agreement is seriously in doubt, as bickering persists on whether to make changes to a 2008 law designed to protect Central American children from human trafficking.
Controlling Senate Democrats have proposed a $2.7 billion measure that wouldn’t address the 2008 anti-trafficking law. House Republican leaders, who run their chamber, are considering a $1.5 billion proposal that includes tweaks to border policy.
Both proposals fall short of President Obama's request to Congress to spend $3.7 billion in emergency spending to address the border crisis. Obama also wants some alterations to border polices.