Senate Appropriations Committee approves $4.6B for border

By Ted Hesson
The former president also opposed the idea.

The Senate Appropriations Committee today approved a $4.6 billion spending bill to respond to an influx of Central American families and children at the southwest border.

The measure passed with a 30-1 vote, with only Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) opposed.

The bulk of the funds — $2.9 billion — would fund the Health and Human Services Department’s program to house and care for unaccompanied children, according to a Republican summary. In addition, it would devote $793 million to improve conditions at Customs and Border Protection processing centers and border stations.

Arrests along the U.S.-Mexico border — a metric used to determine illegal crossings — have skyrocketed in recent months. The influx has stretched the resources of federal immigration officials, and lawmakers from both parties have referred to it as a humanitarian crisis.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell told “Fox & Friends”Monday that he will bring the legislation to the Senate floor next week, where it is likely to pass. Senators leave town at the end of the month for the July 4 recess period.

Whether the Democrat-led House will pass a similar funding boost is less certain. A bipartisan group of members has discussed a possible deal and hopes to secure a floor vote before recess, according to a Democratic aide.

The bill does not provide funding for a border wall or additional immigration detention beds, according to a Democratic summary.

In addition to the Republican and Democratic summaries, the committee also released the full text of the legislation.

In a separate effort, White House senior adviser Jared Kushner has worked with Sens. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) and Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) to broker a bipartisan deal on asylum laws.