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House border task force prepares alternative to Obama $3.7 billion boondoggle

border crisis

When Barack Obama requested the Congress approve a mammoth $3.7 billion appropriation to deal with the Obama created crisis on our southern border, the House GOP was underwhelmed. The general distribution of the funds request was:

border bill obama

And is seemed as though that the bill, as presented, was dead on arrival:

Leading congressional Republicans dug in Sunday on their view that President Obama’s $3.7 billion emergency spending request to stem the flow of children across the southwest U.S. border is too costly and needs to include tougher immigration laws to pass.

Today the House GOP task force charged with creating a bill has released the general scope of how their bill will look:

  • It will be less than half of Obama’s request.
  • It will only cover FY 2014, which means it must be spent before September 30.
  • It will be a non-emergency appropriation which means other programs in government must be cut to pay for it.
  • It will change the law to allow repatriation of minors without a hearing
  • It will recommend putting the National Guard on the border.
  • It will send more immigration judges to the border areas.
  • It will give Border Patrol and presumably National Guard the authority to operate in federal “wilderness areas” where Department of Interior has forbidden motorized vehicles, etc.

The fate of this bill is not certain:

Salmon said the group will not recommend reversing a 2012 executive order, the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, which grants stays of deportation to children brought to the country illegally by the parents.

Thirty-three House Republicans signed a letter earlier this month calling on Obama to end the program, with some co-signers saying Wednesday it would be a deal breaker for them if that language was not included in the border funding bill still currently under review by the House Appropriations Committee.

Asked whether he thought Congress would pass a funding bill by the end of the month, in time for the extended August recess, Boehner said, “I’d hope so, but I don’t have as much optimism as I’d like to have.”

While this bill will not please everyone, there is a lot in it to like. Treating this as a change in budget priorities rather than a crisis requires offsets in the current year so that it stays budget neutral. The provision to allow immediate repatriation of some border crossers rather than a mandatory hearing is positive as is curbing the bureaucratic excesses of the Interior. The bill is, however, far from what the Administration wants and probably far from what the Senate will entertain. Time is running out and it is looking like there may not even be a border bill this fiscal year.

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