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Senate Unlikely to Pass Border Bill    07/30 06:19

   A bill to deal with the immigration surge at the border appears headed for 
procedural defeat in the Senate as lawmakers trade blame over their inaction on 
the crisis.

   WASHINGTON (AP) -- A bill to deal with the immigration surge at the border 
appears headed for procedural defeat in the Senate as lawmakers trade blame 
over their inaction on the crisis.

   Days ahead of Congress' five-week summer recess, Senate Democrats' $3.5 
billion emergency spending bill designed to help deal with tens of thousands of 
young migrants crossing the border illegally has yet to draw the necessary 
support to move forward. A vote in the Senate was expected Wednesday.

   The inclusion of hundreds of millions of dollars to fight Western wildfires 
and provide aid for Israel's defense hasn't been enough to win over 
Republicans, who demand legal changes rejected by Democrats to return the young 
migrants more quickly to Central America.

   Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., said it was Republicans' fault 
that the Senate looked set to adjourn for August without addressing what both 
parties have called a humanitarian crisis. Republicans "oppose everything the 
president wanted. Here is an example of that," he said.

   Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., disputed that, saying, "The 
problem is the Democratic Senate."

   With polls showing the public paying close attention to the immigration 
crisis, House Republicans were hoping they could act on their own solution, a 
slimmed-down, $615 million measure that leaves out the money for wildfires and 
Israel but includes the contentious policy changes rejected by Senate 
Democrats. These include dispatching the National Guard to the border and 
changing the law to permit unaccompanied migrant youths to be returned more 
quickly to Central America without deportation hearings that are now required.

   But there was no guarantee House Speaker John Boehner would be able to count 
on enough support to pass the bill as he aimed for a vote Thursday.

   Many conservatives remained skeptical, and Reid fomented those concerns by 
threatening to use the House bill as a vehicle to attach the Senate's 
comprehensive immigration overhaul bill, which the House has rejected.

   Boehner responded angrily, accusing Reid of "making a deceitful and cynical 
attempt to derail the House's commonsense solution."

   "So let me be as clear as I can be with Sen. Reid: The House of 
Representatives will not take up the Senate immigration reform bill or accept 
it back from the Senate in any fashion," Boehner said in a statement.

   More than 57,000 unaccompanied minors have arrived since October, mostly 
from El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala. Many are fleeing vicious gangs and 
are trying to reunite with family members, but they also are drawn by rumors 
that once here, they would be allowed to stay.

   The Homeland Security Department says overwhelmed border agencies will be 
running out of money in coming months, and President Barack Obama asked 
Congress to agree to provide $3.7 billion.


(KA)


 
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