Jun 26, 2019

House passes emergency funding bill for border aid

There are almost 19,000 asylum seekers in Mexican border cities waiting for a US court hearing, according to research based on US and Mexican official figures. Photo: PAUL RATJE / Contributor/Getty Images

The House voted 230-195 on Tuesday evening to approve a $4.5 billion emergency funding bill for humanitarian assistance for migrants and additional security measures at the U.S. southern border.

Catch up quick: The bill aims to appropriate $934.5 million for "processing facilities, food, water, sanitary items, blankets, medical services, and safe transportation," ABC reports. The White House threatened to veto the House measure on Monday, citing "partisan provisions designed to hamstring the Administration’s border enforcement efforts."

What's new: Democrats made several last-minute changes on Tuesday to the House bill, which now requires Customs and Border Protection "to establish new health and safety standards for migrants in its custody" within 30 days and create "protocols for dealing with migrant surges," the Washington Post reports.

  • The bill limits children's stays at Department of Health and Human Services' (HHS) “influx shelters” at 90 days, per the Post.
  • "HHS shelter contractors who do not provide adequate accommodations, food and personal items, such as toothbrushes, as well as routine medical care, schooling, leisure activities, and other basic services" will be barred, the Post reports.

The big picture: Democrats and Republicans have backed 2 separate plans to deal with reports of dangerous and unsanitary living conditions in immigration detention centers — one in the House, and one in the Senate. The GOP-backed Senate bill aims to give $145 million to the Defense Department, per the New York Times, whereas the House legislation doesn't allocate any funds to the DoD — and the House bill mandates stricter oversight on migrant care.

The bottom line, per the Post: The Department of Health and Human Services "has warned Congress that 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."

Go deeper: Migrant children moved from border facility after reports of unsafe conditions

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Bernie Sanders wins Nevada caucus

Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders waves to supporters at a campaign rally on Friday in Las Vegas. Photo: Mario Tama/Getty Images

Sen. Bernie Sanders is projected to handily win the Nevada Democratic primary caucus, becoming the clear frontrunner among 2020 Democratic presidential primary election candidates.

Why it matters: Nevada is the first state with a diverse population to hold a nominating contest, highlighting candidates' abilities to connect with voters of color — particularly Latino voters.

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South Korea and Italy see spikes in coronavirus cases

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins, the CDC, and China's Health Ministry. Note: China numbers are for the mainland only and U.S. numbers include repatriated citizens.

The novel coronavirus has spread to more nations, and the U.S. reports a doubling of its confirmed cases to 34 — while noting these are mostly due to repatriated citizens, emphasizing there's no "community spread" yet in the United States.

The big picture: COVID-19 has now killed at least 2,362 people and infected more than 77,000 others, mostly in mainland China. New countries to announce infections recently include Israel and Lebanon, while Iran reported its sixth death from the virus. South Korea's confirmed cases jumped from 204 Friday to 433 on Saturday and Italy's case count rose from 3 to 62 by Saturday.

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America's rundown roads add to farmers' struggles

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

American farmers are struggling to safely use the roads that cut through their fields; decades of neglect and lack of funding have made the routes dangerous.

The big picture: President Trump has long promised to invest billions in rural infrastructure, and his latest proposal would allocate $1 trillion for such projects. Rural America, where many of Trump's supporters live, would see a large chunk of that money.