House Democrats cannot accept the bipartisan border crisis compromise bill the Senate passed Wednesday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said, and will demand changes to limit how long children can be held in some facilities.
Mrs. Pelosi also said Democrats will insist on more money to pay the communities that illegal immigrant families are being dumped into, and will demand a new method of processing migrants when they arrive at the border “which is culturally, linguistically and religiously appropriate.”
“For the children, we must do the best we can,” Mrs. Pelosi said.
Her comments came in a statement late Wednesday, as she huddled with her lieutenants to try to figure out how to respond after the Senate, in a bipartisan vote, rejected her partisan bill and instead passed its own bill.
Republicans said Mrs. Pelosi should accept that bill, pointing to the Senate’s 84-8 vote that suggested a massive consensus on that version.
But President Trump seemed to signal a willingness to compromise, telling reporters earlier in the day he’s spoken with Mrs. Pelosi and saw the outlines of a deal.
The House and Senate bills are similar in the amount of money — one is $4.5 billion while the other totals $4.6 billion — but they differ over how to spend it.
The federal Health Department, charged with caring for Unaccompanied Alien Children, gets a majority of money in each bill. But border authorities, the Pentagon and deportation officers get money in the Senate bill that’s absent from the House version.
And while both bills contain some restrictions on how the money can be spent, the House version contains many more.
Those provisions were added to appease Democrats’ liberal wing.
Mrs. Pelosi’s statement Wednesday suggests she’s willing to forgo most of those — but she said she’ll insist on one big change that would limit how long juvenile migrants can be kept in emergency unlicensed dormitories.
That’s also a key demand of the liberals, who object in particular to one Florida facility where more than 2,000 UACs are.
That facility, known as Homestead, has been the scene of pilgrimages by Democratic presidential candidates this week, demanding its closure.