By SEUNG MIN KIM | 7/28/14 6:57 PM EDT
The Obama administration Monday formally endorsed the Senate Democratic version of an emergency spending measure that would provide an additional $2.7 billion in funding for the crisis on the Texas border.
The legislation, drafted by Senate Appropriations Committee Chairwoman Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.), also includes funding to battle wildfires and $225 million for Israel’s Iron Dome missile defense system.
It omits changes to a 2008 trafficking law that had come under heightened scrutiny, since the law had made it effectively more difficult to deport children who were not from Mexico or Canada. President Barack Obama had initially called for those changes, but backed off amid criticism from Democratic lawmakers and immigrant advocates.
“Unlike the House Republican approach, this bill responsibly addresses the humanitarian situation without injecting partisan provisions that are unworkable and would increase costs without solving the problem,” the Obama administration said in a statement Monday of the Senate legislation.
“Rather than holding necessary resources hostage to partisan provisions, the administration encourages the Congress to move forward on long-lasting solutions provided by common-sense immigration reform,” the statement continued.
House Republicans have not yet released legislation and are not expected to do so until Tuesday.
In a breakfast last week hosted by the Christian Science Monitor, White House senior adviser Dan Pfeiffer said Obama still wants to change the 2008 trafficking law to help speed up deportations of unaccompanied children arriving at the U.S.-Mexico border — but that disputes over revising the law should not hold up the emergency funding.