New reports indicate that Democrat leaders agreed to funding part of the White House request for emergency funding to address the growing crisis at the US-Mexico border.
While Democrats are reportedly only willing to fund humanitarian relief efforts, the news indicates an increased likelihood of an agreement between Republicans and Democrats on the controversial issue, which continues to leave lawmakers bitterly divided.
For Democrats, including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and many 2020 hopefuls, the issue of border security and mass-scale illegal migration has become something of a mine field, given their handling of the growing crisis throughout the Trump administration.
Now, with the 2020 election drawing ever nearer, Democrats who previously remained defiant towards Trump’s border efforts now appear closer than ever to making a deal.
Democratic leaders have agreed to fund a portion of the White House’s emergency funding request to address the surge of migrants at the southern border, according to multiple sources.
Top Democrats indicated to Republicans late Thursday afternoon that they are willing to include some of the White House’s $4.5 billion proposal — specifically for humanitarian assistance — in a long-stalled disaster relief package.
Democrats are willing to devote more money to the Office of Refugee and Resettlement, which has been in charge of thousands of unaccompanied minors who have crossed the border this year.
But they rejected the White House’s more contentious requests, such as more money for detention beds or the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency.
The formal offer from Democrats comes one week after Republican leaders first proposed tying the money for the White House’s border request to the disaster aid package, which includes $17 billion for communities affected by hurricanes, wildfires and extreme flooding in the last 18 months.
Even if Democrats’ proposal isn’t entirely accepted, senior lawmakers from both parties believe they are getting closer to an agreement that can pass before the Memorial Day recess.
Appropriations Committee Chairwoman Nita Lowey (D-N.Y.) declined to comment on the offer Thursday, but said there was “movement” in the negotiations.
Democrats said they were open to billions of dollars for “tightly limited” humanitarian aid for both the Department of Homeland Security as well as the refugee office, which falls under Department of Health and Human Services, according to Democratic aide.
Speaker Nancy Pelosi hinted earlier Thursday that Democrats would be willing to include humanitarian aid in the spending bill.
“What is happening at the border is tragic, and we hope to address some of that in the supplemental that is coming, the disaster supplemental, to provide some of the resources that are needed there,” Pelosi said.