- The Washington Times - Tuesday, June 11, 2019

Fresh off President Trump’s new border deal with Mexico, Senate Republicans plan to push the issue to the halls of Congress, saying it’s time for Democrats to agree to pass Mr. Trump’s $4.5 billion emergency spending request to help care for the record surge of illegal immigrants.

Sen. Lindsey Graham, chairman of the Judiciary Committee, said there will be a first vote in the Appropriations Committee next week.

“I think it’ll be money well spent,” Mr. Graham said.

A majority of the $4.5 billion Mr. Trump has requested would go to to the federal Health Department, which is running out of money to house and care for the unaccompanied illegal immigrant children. Other money would go to replenish accounts at Customs and Border Protection, where facilities designed to hold perhaps 5,000 people now hold 19,000 migrants.

But the bill presents a dilemma for Democrats, who are reluctant to give Mr. Trump a victory on anything related to his border plans, saying they don’t want to reward him after his fight over money to build the border wall earlier this year or after his zero tolerance policy that led to family separations.

Republicans had pushed to include the $4.5 billion in the disaster relief spending bill that cleared Congress last week, but Democrats balked.

Now Republicans say they’ll move the legislation as a stand-alone bill, daring Democrats to vote against it.

“When will our Democratic colleagues get serious about this?” said Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.

The Kentucky Republican marveled that The New York Times has repeatedly editorialized in favor of approving the money. He said that puts Democrats’ congressional leaders to the left of the famously liberal newspaper.

Sen. Patrick Leahy, Vermont Democrat and vice chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, said his party is “willing” to approve the money for the Health Department.

“We just want basic standards of humanitarian care,” he said.

He pointed the finger at Mr. Trump, complaining that the president ordered an end to foreign assistance to the key Central American countries, which he said has worsened the situation on the ground in Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala, and soured chances for a deal in Congress.

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