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House passes Trump-backed border funding bill

In this image, Nancy Pelosi stands behind a podium and speaks.
Nancy Pelosi on June 27, 2019 at her weekly press conference. Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

The House voted 305-102 on Thursday to pass the Senate's $4.6 billion emergency bill appropriating humanitarian aid for migrants and providing funding for additional security measures at the southern border. Earlier Thursday, Speaker Nancy Pelosi wrote in a letter to her caucus:

"The children come first. At the end of the day, we have to make sure that the resources needed to protect the children are available. Therefore, we will not engage in the same disrespectful behavior that the Senate did in ignoring our priorities. In order to get resources to the children fastest, we will reluctantly pass the Senate bill. As we pass the Senate bill, we will do so with a Battle Cry as to how we go forward to protect children in a way that truly honors their dignity and worth."

Why it matters: The Department of Health and Human Services had previously warned Congress it will "exhaust its funding for housing migrant children at the end of the month" — a scenario that would impede efforts to move them out of Border Patrol facilities," per the Washington Post. Congress is scheduled to go on recess for 4th of July and was under pressure to pass an emergency bill amid reports of migrant children being detained in squalid conditions at the border.

Catch up quick: The House version of the emergency bill, which was rejected by the Senate on Wednesday, included policy strings that would improve detention center conditions and strengthen regulations for migrants in government custody. The Senate overwhelmingly passed its version of the bill in an 84-8 bipartisan vote.

  • Unlike the $4.6 billion Senate bill that Pelosi has agreed to take up, the House package did not include funding for the Defense Department and agencies within the Department of Homeland Security, like Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
  • Following a meeting between Pelosi and Vice President Mike Pence on Thursday, the Trump administration agreed to notify Congress about the death of a migrant child in custody within 24 hours, and to setting a "a 90-day limit for a child in an influx facility," Politico's Jake Sherman reports.

Between the lines: Senate Republicans and President Trump are touting the Senate bill's victory as a triumph over Democrats, who they claim did not acknowledge the crisis on the southern border before now.

  • "Nobody doubts anymore that this is a humanitarian crisis," Mitch McConnell said on Thursday.
  • "And I think that a lot of people are starting to realize that I was right when I said we have a crisis at the border. Everyone is saying, now, had a crisis at the border," Trump also said on Thursday.

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