Congress passes aid package to address border situation

Rep. Katie Hill, D-Agua Dulce, and Joe Messina, communications director for the 38th Republican Central Committee.

Following its passage Thursday in the House of Representatives, a less-restrictive $4.6 billion humanitarian aid package now heads to the president’s desk to address the humanitarian crisis at the nation’s southern border.

The Senate’s version of the funding package passed the House with a final vote of 305-102, and elected representatives are confident that President Donald Trump will soon sign the bill.

The package received support from both sides of the aisle but many Democratic lawmakers were torn on how to vote, according to media reports.

Rep. Katie Hill, D-Agua Dulce, was among the 95 Democrats who voted no on the package and, in a statement after the vote, she described the process as “rushed.”

“Today’s House passage of the Senate’s border supplemental bill was a rush job that reflects the very worst of Washington,” Hill said. “Too many of my colleagues wanted to get home to light fireworks rather than stay in D.C. and work on a bill that reflects our American values and protects the most vulnerable among us.”

Hill added in her statement that there wasn’t enough accountability inside of the bill to ensure that taxpayers’ dollars are spent on ways that keep the children safe and borders secure.

“Law enforcement agencies need to be able to do the jobs they were established to do, detention centers need to be held to humane standards and children should not be kept in horrible conditions,” she said, adding,

“This bill does not accomplish that. That’s why I voted for a bill two days ago that included these important priorities. I’m not writing an unconditional blank check and I don’t think anyone in our community would expect me to.”

Joe Messina, communications director for the 38th Republican Central Committee, said Friday that he feels the congressional response will fail to provide a lasting solution to the problems occurring at the border.

“The New York Times called this a striking defeat for (House Speaker Nancy) Pelosi, but it’s a clean bill. I feel it’s not going to solve the problem, but you’re getting money to take care of the kids, which they need,” Messina said. “But long term, there is no lasting long-term immigration fix in this bill. It’s a Band-Aid.”

The local Republican party spokesman added that leaders would have more success in solving the problem if they were able to provide more judges to process the thousands of backlogged immigrationn cases.

“We gotta get the system moving,” Messina said. “And we need a comprehensive immigration solution that both sides can agree to, but that won’t happen without (leaders) sitting down to discuss. I wouldn’t let them go home for the summer yet without a fix.”

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