Finally. The U.S. House of Representatives, after months of denying there is any crisis on the southern border, has finally taken the first step toward addressing the crisis they now begrudgingly admit is occurring. Granted, this first step is far from comprehensive—in fact, it is exclusively humanitarian and does nothing to permanently solve the ongoing security crisis. But at least it is a first step.
Nearly two months ago, after months of calling on Congress to pass comprehensive legislation to address both the humanitarian and security crisis on the border, the White House demonstrated its commitment to humanitarian care by issuing a $4.5 billion request for humanitarian aid. This request was void of any of the Administration’s security priorities and demonstrated a commitment to providing sufficient care to those illegally crossing the border. It was a request House Democrats had said they wanted.
But Speaker Pelosi rejected the offer.
Over the course of the next several weeks, it became clear that this refusal to accept the offer had more to do with denying the President any progress on the issue than it did with substantive concerns. Meanwhile, the crisis on the border continued to grow, and the number suffering continued to climb.
Fortunately, yesterday, in an overwhelming 84-8 bipartisan vote, the U.S. Senate passed a substantively similar $4.6 billion humanitarian package. It appeared that cooler heads had prevailed and that the much-needed humanitarian aid would be on its way to the border while the critical debate over the security component continued.
But Speaker Pelosi rejected the bill again, and refused to take it up. Instead, she insisted that the Senate take up a partisan version of the bill that House Democrats had loaded full of enforcement restricting provisions.
Fortunately, sanity prevailed, and just enough of Speaker Pelosi’s caucus weighed in on behalf of the Senate bill that she had to relent. Moments ago, in a 305-102 vote, the U.S. House approved the Senate bill and sent it to the President to be signed into law.
Much work is yet to be done. This bill does nothing to permanently stem the flow of illegal crossings that is perpetuating this humanitarian crisis. But at least it acknowledges the crisis and begins the process of ensuring that those who are suffering in its wake are provided care.
It is a critical victory. The crisis is real. Today was an important step in the correct direction, but a permanent solution must follow. The border must be secured.
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