House Approves Funding Package for Border Aid 

WASHINGTON (CN) – The U.S. House of Representatives Tuesday approved a $4.5 billion spending package providing funds to the Trump administration to care for the influx of families and children seeking to enter the country at the southern border.

The House cleared the bill in a 230-195 vote at the end of a chaotic day debating the legislation. 

Progressive members of the Democratic caucus raised last-minute concerns that the bill did not include strict enough standards for the level of care at government-operated facilities, imperiling the bill’s prospects. 

House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer told reporters Tuesday that a late-night meeting on Monday with leadership helped improve the “comfort level” of some of the chamber’s members who were concerned about the bill. Hoyer urged members to avoid sinking an acceptable package in an effort to get a perfect bill that would never become law.

“I’d urge all my members to not make perfect the enemy of the good,” Hoyer said. 

House Democrats unveiled changes to the spending package that would require U.S. Customs and Border Protection to put forward a plan to make sure all of its facilities meet certain health and safety standards. The changes also prohibit the federal government from holding unaccompanied children in temporary shelters for more than 90 days.

The Senate has its own bipartisan border funding package, which Hoyer cast as a relatively acceptable bill to Democrats, if not the preferred option. He said Democrats see the House version of the bill as a better package that will be a negotiating point for the party when it must hammer out differences with the Senate’s version.

The legislation comes amid heightened concerns over the conditions in detention facilities where the government holds immigrants – and especially children – who cross the U.S.-Mexico border. 

Earlier this week, The Associated Press reported that one facility near El Paso, Texas,  did not have adequate food and water and that children were charged with taking care of each other.

The Trump administration has called on Congress to provide the money to help cope with “an overwhelming surge” of people arriving at the southern border.

President Donald Trump has threatened to veto the House package, faulting it for its failure to include funds for more detention beds and for “onerous language” that would restrict the federal response to future influxes of immigrants at the southern border.

A White House statement said the House majority has “put forward a partisan bill that underfunds necessary accounts and seeks to take advantage of the current crisis by inserting policy provisions that would make our country less safe.”

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