Jun 27, 2019 - Politics & Policy

Progressives lash out at moderate Democrats after Pelosi caves on border bill

Democratic infighting was on full display Thursday after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi opted to "reluctantly pass" the Senate version of a $4.6 billion emergency aid bill for migrants at the border, with progressives accusing moderates and Senate Democrats of capitulating to the demands of Mitch McConnell and President Trump.

“Under no circumstances should the House vote for a McConnell only bill with no negotiation with Democrats.  Hell no, that’s an abdication of power we should refuse to accept.  They will keep hurting kids if we do.”
— Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez

The big picture: On Wednesday, after rejecting the House version of the bill, the Senate overwhelmingly passed its package in a bipartisan 84-8 vote. Pelosi jockeyed Thursday morning to add supplemental protections to the bill for migrant children and restrictions for how the Trump administration can use the funds. However, moderate Democrats and members of the bipartisan "Problem Solvers Caucus" threatened to block the vote unless Pelosi put the Senate-passed legislation on the House floor.

What they're saying:

Progressive Caucus Co-Chair Mark Pocan (D-Wisc.): "Since when did the Problem Solvers Caucus become the Child Abuse Caucus? Wouldn't they want to at least fight against contractors who run deplorable facilities? Kids are the only ones who could lose today."

Progressive Caucus Co-Chair Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.): "I am looking for a new pharmaceutical drug that builds spines ... Listen, I think leader Schumer and all the Senate Democrats have to understand that we need them to stand up and oppose."

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.): "We didn’t even bother to negotiate. There are House amendments, we could have negotiated in, we could have conferenced, we could have tried to get amendments in to get humanitarian provisions put in, to get consequences for facilities that abuse kids in. ... We are the House of Representatives and we are a House majority and we need to act like it."

Rep. Katie Hill (D-Calif.): "Today I voted NO on Mitch McConnell's border bill. The bill was a rush job that reflects the worst of Washington – exactly what I ran against. I would rather have worked a long weekend and drafted a bill that actually keeps kids safe and reflects our values."

Rep. Ro Khanna (D-Calif.): "I voted no on the Senate bill. Standing up for human rights requires more than providing money. We gave the Administration $40 million more than they asked in 2019 for supplies. But they still deprived children of diapers & soap. We need a law that clearly outlaws the abuses."

Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.): "We had an opportunity to put forth a humanitarian policy and we wasted that opportunity, and it's quite sad. And I hope that Americans are as appalled as I am."

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