Yay, the Senate came up with something! I have recently taken the Senate to task for being behind the House in rolling out something to attend to the Obama-Caused Disaster on our Southern border and at least consider the President’s request for additional funding, but Senate Appropriations Chair Barbara Mikulski (D-MA) filed a bill for consideration late last night.
The Mikulski bill appears to hope to gain Republican support by shortening the term to 4 to 5 months, thereby lessening the total dollars, and by including funds for Israel and Western wildfires. The bill does not, however, include any changes to the 2008 law that is causing the problem, but does press the President to “do more” about the gangs and child smugglers in Central America (no details as to how are yet available to me) and actually increases the President’s funding request to provide legal counsel for the children before immigration courts.
House Appropriations chair Hal Rogers (R-KY) would prefer to see less spending and more spending offsets than the Senate plan, but he does seem open to shortening the term of the bill. Rogers raises the question of whether temporary changes to the 2008 law can be added to the temporary funding.
“I don’t think you’re going to find many conservatives willing to spend much money if we don’t change the policy,” said Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.). “Now if it coincides, the expiration of the spending and the change in policy, then I don’t know. That’s kind of a funky way to do business,” he said with a laugh. “But I’m not on Appropriations.”
Democrats generally appear to be adamant about not changing the language in the 2008 law. Majority Leader Harry Reid, who was Leader when the law passed, is said to be entirely opposed and does not want to floor a bill with any changes. The Hispanic Caucus also appears to be furious with the White House for originally requesting such changes, before quickly shutting up in a hailstorm of protest, because they gave John Boehner, Speaker of the House, ammunition to demand them. New Mexico Senator Tom Udall:
“I’m trying to be part of the group to see if we can build a majority for something,” Udall said. “I think there has been a pretty firm position from leadership to not do any language on the supplemental — to not do any language at all.”
“At this point, I am with the leadership,” Udall said. “Because I think that’s the only way to get something passed.”
Democrats further scoff at the House Republican plan to require Immigration hearings for the children within 7 days and are incredulous it comes from Republicans who don’t think the government can make a pot of coffee in that time. Still, much of this on the Democrat side has to be political posturing; Politico reports:
…many Democrats admit privately that the current system is untenable in that so few children are deported — about 1,800 a year — that it only encourages more to cross the border.
The bottom line on all that is this is a recipe for yet more gridlock. It will be fearsomely difficult to get the House R’s to go along with additional spending for a problem they believe has been knowingly and intentionally caused by the President. It approaches impossibility to get them to approve it without serious and fundamental changes to the 2008 law. Further, they are really unwilling to conference anything with the Senate– that’s the actual reason the Comprehensive bill is utterly stalled– because they fear a conference report they don’t like might get put over with Democrats and a bare handful of RINOs. As against this, the Senate Democrats also look to be just about as adamant about not changing the law, which is the actual problem. Normally I cheer gridlock; gridlock prevents the feds from doing anything, and preventing the feds from doing anything also prevents them from screwing things up worse than they now are. But I am not anti-government, I just want it corralled within its Constitutional limits. And unfortunately, the border problem is entirely a federal matter. It’s unfortunate the poisonous atmosphere caused by passing Obamacare has to extend to things the feds really ought to be doing, instead of just those things the feds have no business doing. But that’s better than a forever-expanding government, and it will be easy to blame Democrats for this one. Chalk it up to another Obamacare-related death.