WASHINGTON – The House ended the week on a raucous note Friday as Representative Rosa DeLauro raged against Republican colleagues over a Trump Administration policy that last year lead to thousands of children being separated from their parents as they crossed into the United States at the border with Mexico.
DeLauro launched into her attack Friday as the House wrapped up debate on a $17 billion disaster relief bill. Republicans offered a “motion to recommit” – a routine procedural tactic the minority party uses to highlight shortcomings in the majority party’s legislation. In this case, Texas Representative Kay Granger, the ranking Republican on the Appropriations Committee, sought to add to the bill a recent Trump request for $2.9 billion in emergency funding to care for unaccompanied children.
Granger said the federal government had nearly 13,000 unaccompanied children in its care at the end of April and if trends continue it would run out of funds needed to care for them. The motion to recommit, she said, would have given the House a chance to pay for the necessary expenditures before that occurs.
Granger noted that a similar request was made – and rejected – earlier in the week on an appropriations bill that would fund the Department of Health and Human Services. DeLauro, who chairs the committee, was miffed by the implication that her panel was ignoring the children.
DeLauro assured the House that Democrats are seriously reviewing the request but want answers from the Trump administration on how it will be allocated to make certain it pays for mental health and legal services that she claims have gone wanting. She then blasted GOP colleagues for failing to agree to spending $4.5 billion next year for childcare and child welfare.
“They said ‘no.’ They said ‘no’ to this, so don’t be fooled,” DeLauro said. And, then added that all this is happening on the “one year anniversary of a child abuse policy” that separated children at the border. “You should have cared for them last year and every day since,” she said.
The motion to recommit failed along party lines. The bill was then approved, 257-150, but is likely not to advance much farther as Republicans hold the majority in the Senate and President Trump has said he disapproves of the House version. A major sticking point is over additional funds that Democrats are seeking to free up to assist Puerto Rico in its recovery from 2017′s Hurricane Maria. The White House and Republicans want to impose more financial controls on Puerto Rico’s management of funds.