House conservatives on Wednesday demanded Congress slow the rush to approve the homeland security spending bill, and suggested passing a short-term bill to keep the government open while giving all sides more time to digest what’s in the deal.
The House Freedom Caucus said it was unfair to make lawmakers have to digest a bill likely to run thousands of pages before a vote that could come Thursday. The text of the bill hasn’t been released yet, with negotiators saying they’re still writing final details.
That’s left all sides reacting to rumors and representations of what’s in the bill — creating confusion about key elements, including whether there will be enough detention beds to hold illegal immigrant criminals in detention.
“Congress should pass a continuing resolution to give Members enough time to make these considerations on behalf of the American families and communities they represent,” said Rep. Mark Meadows, chairman of the Freedom Caucus.
He and fellow caucus members were proposing a one-week extension of current spending beyond the current Friday deadline.
The conservatives’ suggestion isn’t likely to get takers among House Democrats, who control the chamber and who are pushing for speedy action.
The spending deal they reached “in principle” with Senate Republicans earlier this week would offer $1.375 billion for building 55 miles of new border fencing — less than the $5.7 billion President Trump wanted, but more than the $1 ante House Speaker Nancy Pelosi had offered for Democrats’ bid.
There are conflicting reports, however, on what the bill means for detention space for illegal immigrants.
Liberal lawmakers had demanded deep cuts, saying they didn’t want to be seen casting votes supporting Mr. Trump’s “deportation force.”
Yet Democrats doubted many of them would defect to vote against the bill.
“I didn’t hear any pushback at all this morning in the caucus,” said House Budget Committee Chairman John Yarmuth, Kentucky Democrat. “Overall, it’s a pretty good deal.”
Mr. Yarmuth said that beyond the homeland security bill, there are aspects to like in the rest of the package, like a boost in money for the 2020 U.S. Census and a pay raise for federal employees.
House Republican leaders were skeptical.
Rep. Mike Simpson, a key appropriator, predicted that up to half of the House Republican conference could ultimately vote against the package.
He, personally, said the parameters of the deal sounded like something he could support.
“Unless there’s something weird in it, yeah,” said Mr. Simpson, Idaho Republican.
© Copyright (c) 2019 News World Communications, Inc.
This content is published through a licensing agreement with Acquire Media using its NewsEdge technology.