Pelosi: Republicans 'on their own' in border vote
By Mike Lillis - 07/31/14 11:24 AM EDT
House Republicans are "on their own" as they attempt to pass an emergency response to the southern border crisis, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) warned Thursday.
As GOP leaders scrambled to rally Republican support for their $659 million border package ahead of a Thursday afternoon vote, Pelosi said the Republicans shouldn't bank on Democratic support to get the bill over the finish line.
"Let me put it this way: The Democrats are not going to enable that bill to pass. That's the number that we're interested in," Pelosi told reporters in the Capitol just hours before the vote. "They [Republicans] are going to have to do that on their own."
Democratic leaders have been whipping hard against the Republicans' border bill, largely over concern that language scaling back a 2008 human trafficking law would erode due process protections for the unaccompanied Central American children who have crossed the border in recent months.
A handful of Democrats appear poised to support the GOP bill. Rep. Henry Cuellar (D-Texas), who has sponsored a bill scaling back the 2008 law, said he plans to vote for it.
A number of other conservative-leaning Democrats remain wildcards as the vote approaches. Reps. Mike McIntyre (N.C.), Nick Rahall (W.Va.), Kurt Schrader (Ore.), John Barrow (Ga.), Jim Matheson (Utah), Kyrsten Sinema (Ariz.) and Ron Barber (Ariz.) have declined to say how they'll vote.
Blue Dog Rep. Sanford Bishop (D-Ga.) said he's also undecided "but leaning against."
Rep. David Scott (D-Ga.), yet another Blue Dog, said he's "a toss up," but hinted he'd rather support an imperfect bill than leave town without passing something.
"We've got to do something, and we've got to do the best we can do given the situation," Scott said. "There's an urgency here."
GOP leaders ran into trouble Wednesday night, after conservatives in their conference threatened to sink the bill for an absence of language addressing Obama's 2012 Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.
In response, GOP leaders have scheduled a separate vote on a bill blocking Obama from expanding DACA. It remains unclear, however, if that strategy would appease enough conservatives to pass the underlying border package without Democratic support, as some Republicans are grumbling that the two measures were not combined.
Cuellar said he would vote against the DACA proposal.
Echoing predictions from Rep. Steny Hoyer (Md.), the Democratic whip, Pelosi said the number of Democrats crossing the aisle will prove insignificant.
"I don't think we'll lose too many Democrats," she said.
Thursday's vote is scheduled for roughly 1 p.m.