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House passes $4.6B Senate border aid bill

By
Ariana Puzzo, Medill News Service & Daniel Uria
The House voted Thursday to pass a $4.6 billion border aid bill introduced by the Senate after the version it passed earlier this week was rejected. Photo by Kevin Dietsch/UPI
The House voted Thursday to pass a $4.6 billion border aid bill introduced by the Senate after the version it passed earlier this week was rejected. Photo by Kevin Dietsch/UPI | License Photo

WASHINGTON -- The House passed the Senate's $4.6 billion border funding on Thursday evening.

The bill passed by a vote of 305-102 hours after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said the House wouldn't negotiate differences between the Senate bill and a version passed by her chamber earlier this week.

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The Senate passed the bill Wednesday, setting aside nearly $3 billion in humanitarian aid and increasing security measures at the border. The Democratic-controlled House passed its version of the bill earlier this week with a stronger focus on protecting migrant children.

Pelosi on Thursday emphasized the need for humanitarian aid for migrant children at the southern border.

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"We are gravely disappointed in the action taken by the Senate in opposing regular order of Congress," Pelosi said.

She criticized the Senate bill for not having stronger protections for migrant children in detention centers, but said the House would "reluctantly" approve the Senate measure "in order to get resources to the children fastest."

"Our strongest ally in getting a better policy than that which was passed by the Republican Senate is public opinion," Pelosi said in a statement.

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At her weekly news conference earlier in the day, Pelosi said, "... All we're saying there is for their comfort, for their safety, for their well-being, for their health, we can do so much more."

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She said that "all of these children are God's children" and her focus is not on political threats or challenges.

"It's only about humanity and the courage to do what is right for the children," Pelosi said.

Rep. Katie Hill, D-Calif., issued a statement describing the bill as a "rush job" saying she would have rather worked a long weekend ahead of Congress' Fourth of July recess than pass the measure.

"There is simply not enough accountability inside of this bill to ensure your taxpayer dollars are spent in a way that actually keeps kids safe and our borders secure," Hill said.

The House of Representatives' version of the bill included increased protection and health services for migrant children. It also put in place stricter rules for temporary influx shelters. Pelosi said the children would not spend more than 90 days in an influx center, which would enable them to "safely be placed with family or other opportunities for their safety."

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Meanwhile, asked about writer E. Jean Carroll's accusation that President Donald Trump raped her in the 1990s, Pelosi said she was unsure what Congress' role would be in the case.

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"We're so immersed in what's happening in Iran, what's happening at our border," Pelosi said during her weekly press conference. "So many policy issues that we have responsibility for, including keeping our elections safe today, as well as protecting the children to the best of our ability.

"I haven't paid that much attention to it," she continued. "I'm more concerned about policy decisions that we have disagreements on that we need to come to agreement on that affect ... the lives of the American people."

Pelosi added that despite her focus elsewhere, she respects the concerns that are expressed by women who have made public their sexual assaults.

"In any of these things, this is about not what Congress would do," Pelosi said. "This is about what the president's own party would do. You'd really have to ask them."

Video courtesy of Thomas Ilalaole and Josephine Chu, Medill News Service.

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