House Republicans on Friday came out of a special conference meeting to discuss their response to President Obama's request for funds for the border optimistic they could pass a package by the end of next week with mostly Republican votes.
The package, which is still being crafted, will likely be less than $1 billion, and will include changes to the 2008 trafficking law, changes that Democrats oppose. President Obama requested $3.7 billion for the border, and Senate Democrats have proposed a bill that would provide $2.7 billion for the crisis.
But it's clear that many Republicans are feeling the pressure to pass something before Congress leaves for its month-long recess in August. There are currently only four days left on the House schedule before they leave.
"I think we have a big political risk if we leave without doing anything," Rep. Bill Flores, R-Texas, told reporters. "The president is a master of trying to deflect his failures onto the Congress. I don't know that this one would stick but why put ourselves in that situation?"
The inclusion of changes to the 2008 law will all but assure that any potential House-passed bill will not make it to President Obama's desk for his signature, as it will likely never make it through the Democrat-controlled Senate (if it even makes it past the House).
"There's no willingness to turn that around, it's a pretty solid position," Rep Raul Grijalva, D-Ariz., said of Democrat's opposition to changes to the 2008 trafficking law. "I haven't heard a scenario that would make me conformable undoing that law in exchange for the money."
"I'm not horribly optimistic, given that that's the centerpiece of what they want to do with the supplemental I can't see a way--a scenario around it," Grijalva said, noting he had just met with other members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus with Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson at the White House today.
Another idea being promoted by a number of Republicans is a vote to repeal the DACA executive action, a move that Sen Ted Cruz, R-Texas, has been personally promoting. Some say it's necessary for it to be included in the package, others say it's not, and Rep Louie Gohmert, R-Texas, even admitted that it would be a "messaging" vote.
"That's one of the things that people have talked about is having a vote to say DACA isn't the law, I mean, do we really need a vote to say DACA isn't the law?" Gohmert said, "It didn't pass Congress, it didn't pass the House the Senate, the only thing it passed is the President's lips, that is not a law."
First published July 25 2014, 1:06 PM