House GOP talks new border bill
By: Jake Sherman and John Bresnahan and Seung Min Kim
August 1, 2014 09:08 AM EDT
After a day of embarrassing failures, House Republican leadership will present a new border security bill Friday morning, which further tightens a 2008 trafficking law.
The House Republican leadership worked through the late afternoon and evening Thursday, in an attempt to tweak a $659 million border security bill that had to be pulled from the floor earlier in the day after it became clear it didn’t have the votes to pass.
Multiple sources say that the leadership will propose language authored by Reps. John Carter (R-Texas) and Robert Aderholt (R-Ala.) to tighten a 2008 law that made it harder to deport children from countries other than Canada and Mexico. The Republicans will also include language that is meant to send National Guard money directly to governors and target President Barack Obama’s ability to issue work permits to migrants.
The National Guard provision costs $35 million, raising the bills cost to $694 million. The legislation will be offset with spending cuts.
The GOP leadership is also trying to tweak language they initially proposed on Wednesday, which would block Obama from allowing more undocumented immigrants already living here to be granted a reprieve from deportations. The new provision, penned by Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.), is tougher than the language Republican leadership originally intended to use.
Top Republicans seem cautiously optimistic that this will attract enough support for passage. Thursday’s opposition was from a small pocket of Republicans, many of whom seem eager to pass a bill but wanted changes to the initial legislation.
The changes being made to the bill by leadership clearly were helping to win over hard-line conservatives, although they could lose support from more moderate Republicans.
Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa), one of the most vocal opponents of the package, said he would back the legislation “if it comes out the way we discussed, yes.”
“A couple other tweaks in there and I think we’ll be at a place where we get a unified conference,” King said.
The proposal is being presented inside a House Republican Conference meeting Friday morning in the Capitol. Senior GOP sources say that if they can’t pass a bill today, they will continue working until they craft something they can pass.
The month long August recess was slated to begin Friday.
After the GOP meeting, the House Republican whip team — led by Louisiana Rep. Steve Scalise — will canvass the conference to see where lawmakers stand.