Congressional attempts to deal with the border crisis got even messier Thursday after House Speaker John Boehner pulled his own immigration spending bill rather than see it voted down.
The $659 million proposal paled in comparison to the $3.7 billion requested by the White House in early July and the $2.7 billion bill passed by the Senate Wednesday.
The “Secure the Southwest Border Supplemental Appropriations Act,” introduced in the House on Tuesday, allocated the majority of funding to Border Patrol and Immigration and Customs Enforcement, with smaller amounts going to the National Guard, the Department of Justice, and “repatriation and reintegration activities” in the migrants’ home countries. (RELATED: Conservatives Battle GOP On Immigration)
The bill would also amend the 2008 anti-child-trafficking law that currently requires unaccompanied minors from non-contiguous countries to go through removal proceedings before being deported, demanding that the process be dramatically expedited. (RELATED: White House Says No Progress On Immigration Til Spending Bill Passes)
On Thursday morning, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi vowed that the Democrats would block the bill, saying “Democrats are not going to enable that bill to pass. … [Republicans] are going to have to do that on their own.”
The White House had already threatened to veto the bill if it passed, and according to the Washington Post, over 20 House conservatives were unwilling to back the bill. Boehner himself had originally suggested $1.5 billion in funding, but backed down after drawing the ire of some in his own conference.
“This situation shows the intense concern within our conference – and among the American people – about the need to ensure the security of our borders and the president’s refusal to faithfully execute our laws,” read a statement released by House leadership Thursday afternoon. “There are numerous steps the president can and should be taking right now, without the need for congressional action, to secure our borders and ensure these children are returned swiftly and safely to their countries.”