House inches toward 11th hour deal on aid for border crisis

By Sarah Ferris and Heather Caygle
“We’ve been going back and forth with mainly some minor things,” Rep. Lucille Roybal-Allard said.

House Democratic leaders are close to completing a long-awaited deal with Republicans to deliver billions in emergency aid to the southern border, with plans to approve the package as early as next week.

The House aims to pass its bill as soon as next Tuesday, with just days to spare before Congress departs for the Fourth of July recess, according to multiple lawmakers and aides.

Democrats on Tuesday night presented what they’ve described as a funding compromise to House Republicans, which aides said was largely free of contentious provisions that had been holding up negotiations for weeks, such as Democratic efforts to permanently ban ICE from using information about unaccompanied children to deport their U.S. sponsors.

“[Republicans] would not have any reason not to support it,” said one Democratic aide familiar with the negotiations.

Some Democrats plan to meet later Wednesday to hash out the details. The bipartisan meeting comes after weeks of negotiating among Democrats, with Congressional Hispanic Caucus leaders raising alarms about forking over more cash to the White House.

“We’ve been going back and forth with mainly some minor things to see if we can get that final okay and move forward in a bipartisan way,” Rep. Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-Calif.), who has been leading negotiations for Democrats, told POLITICO. “It’s not really a negotiation back and forth. It’s more refining some areas.”

The Senate has already taken steps toward its own bipartisan deal on border funding. The Senate Appropriations Committee approved a $4.6 billion proposal on Wednesday, with a bulk of the money going to the Health and Human Services Department's program to house and care for unaccompanied children.

House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) reiterated to reporters Wednesday that Democrats want to deliver “humanitarian resources” to the border before leaving for the next recess. But if Republicans can’t get on board, Hoyer said Democrats could forge ahead with their own proposal.

“We’d like to move on it in a bipartisan way,” Hoyer said. “If that’s not possible, I would hope we would pass our own version of what we think that humanitarian relief is.”