The Senate Appropriations Committee has passed a Homeland Security spending bill for 2019 that rebuffs some of President Trump’s immigration priorities and denies him the full border wall funding he sought.
The legislation allocates $1.6 billion for border barriers, in line with the original White House request but less than the $2.2 billion the administration later asked for.
At a White House meeting earlier this week with Senate Appropriations Chairman Richard Shelby (R-Ala.) and Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.), who chairs the Homeland Security subcommittee, Trump threatened to shut down the government this fall unless he gets more money for the wall. Both senators argued against a shutdown.
The bill also imposes some requirements on the Trump administration related to the current border separation controversy: It requires monthly reports from the administration detailing family separation incidents and requires the administration to make public detention facility inspection reports and reports on detainee deaths.
The bill does not provide money to hire new Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents, or to expand detention bed capacity, despite the president’s request for more money for both those things.
“This DHS bill is not President Trump’s bill. This is the Senate’s bill,” said Sen. Patrick J. Leahy (D-Vt.), top Democrat on the Appropriations Committee. “It rejects the president’s extreme immigration agenda.”
The bill passed the Appropriations Committee on a bipartisan vote of 26-5, with the “no” votes coming from Democrats expressing opposition to the administration’s policies on the border, including the No. 2 Senate Democrat, Richard J. Durbin (Ill.).
“Sen. Durbin opposes funding for DHS as long as the Trump administration’s policies of child separation and family detention remain in place,” said Durbin spokesman Ben Marter.
The legislation would have to be reconciled with an as-yet-unreleased House version. Government funding runs out Sept. 30, when a shutdown could loom just ahead of the midterm elections depending on how Trump reacts to whatever spending legislation Congress sends him.
— Erica Werner