The Administration Is Shifting $405M to Deal With the Border Crisis. Is It Enough?

Jeh Johnson speaks after he was nominated by US President Barack Obama to be the next Homeland Security secretary during a press conference in the Rose Garden of the White House on October 18, 2013 in Washington, DC. AFP PHOTO/Mandel NGAN (Photo credit should read MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)
National Journal
Rachel Roubein
Add to Briefcase
Rachel Roubein
Aug. 5, 2014, 1:46 p.m.

Law­makers came up empty-handed after weeks of du­el­ing over just how much money should be spent at the U.S.-Mex­ico bor­der. Now, the Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion is cop­ing with the fal­lout.

The po­ten­tial short-term solu­tion comes in the form of a money trans­fer, as the De­part­ment of Home­land Se­cur­ity is look­ing to re­pro­gram $405 mil­lion to ad­dress the tens of thou­sands of un­ac­com­pan­ied minors cross­ing the bor­der — a sum even less than the bill House Re­pub­lic­ans passed Fri­day ap­prov­ing $694 mil­lion in emer­gency funds.

As the ad­min­is­tra­tion called on Con­gress to pass a $3.7 bil­lion clean emer­gency sup­ple­ment­al bill last month, Home­land Se­cur­ity Sec­ret­ary Jeh John­son warned law­makers of the rami­fic­a­tions of a fu­ture with no ad­di­tion­al money to ad­dress what has been dubbed a hu­man­it­ari­an crisis at the bor­der. U.S. Im­mig­ra­tion and Cus­toms En­force­ment and U.S. Cus­toms and Bor­der Pro­tec­tion would run out of money in mid-Au­gust and mid-Septem­ber, re­spect­ively, John­son re­peatedly said.

With the House and the Sen­ate in re­cess and far from an agree­ment, DHS plans to trans­fer funds from sev­er­al pro­grams, which Re­u­ters ini­tially re­por­ted and de­part­ment spokes­wo­man Mar­sha Ca­t­ron con­firmed:

  • $267.6 mil­lion from the Fed­er­al Emer­gency Man­age­ment Agency’s dis­aster re­lief fund of roughly $11.3 bil­lion;
  • $31.5 mil­lion from the Coast Guard, which could post­pone main­ten­ance pro­jects for ves­sels;
  • $34.7 mil­lion from the Trans­port­a­tion Se­cur­ity Ad­min­is­tra­tion, which could delay the up­keep of its avi­ation se­cur­ity screen­ing equip­ment; and
  • $70.5 mil­lion in in­tern­al re­align­ment of Cus­toms and Bor­der Pro­tec­tion’s pri­or­it­ies, shift­ing money to the bor­der.

Without more money, the ad­min­is­tra­tion be­lieves ICE would have been un­able to trans­fer chil­dren to the Health and Hu­man Ser­vices De­part­ment’s care, cre­ate new places for mi­grants to stay and be pro­cessed, and con­tin­ue to fly adults with chil­dren back home.

The ad­min­is­tra­tion has made pro­gress, Ca­t­ron wrote in an email, and the num­ber of un­ac­com­pan­ied chil­dren cross­ing the bor­der did de­crease last month.

“But without help from Con­gress,” she wrote, “DHS simply does not have the re­sources we need and have had to make tough choices.”

The re­pro­gram­ming is much-needed, said Wendy Young, pres­id­ent of Kids in Need of De­fense. Yet it serves as a short-term fix and ex­poses how un­der­fund­ing agen­cies leaves them with little room to grapple with un­ex­pec­ted chal­lenges.

“It’s def­in­itely an emer­gency act that’s ab­so­lutely es­sen­tial,” Young said. “It prob­ably won’t re­solve the over­all sys­tem­ic is­sues, so let’s hope Con­gress starts talk­ing to each oth­er.”¦

“Re­pro­gram­ming is al­ways rough. There’s al­ways an ele­ment of rob­bing Peter to pay Paul go­ing on.”

The rerouted money is a far cry from Pres­id­ent Obama’s re­quest of $3.7 bil­lion. It’s dra­mat­ic­ally less than the $2.7 bil­lion pro­pos­al that failed in the Sen­ate and even the $694 mil­lion bill the House passed.

“It begs a big ques­tion,” said An­gela Kel­ley of the Cen­ter for Amer­ic­an Pro­gress, “be­cause you’re see­ing a massive short­fall of what they were ask­ing and what they could pos­sibly get from re­pro­gram­ming.”

That ques­tion — How long will this Band-Aid last? — doesn’t have a defin­it­ive an­swer, said Kel­ley, the cen­ter’s vice pres­id­ent for im­mig­ra­tion policy.

“I think it’s all be­ing writ­ten as we speak,” she said.

What We're Following See More »
ANOTHER NUCLEAR OPTION?
Byrd Rule Could Trip Up Health Legislation
12 hours ago
THE DETAILS

"Even if House Republicans manage to get enough members of their party on board with the latest version of their health care bill, they will face another battle in the Senate: whether the bill complies with the chamber’s arcane ... Byrd rule, which stipulates all provisions in a reconciliation bill must affect federal spending and revenues in a way that is not merely incidental." Democrats should have the advantage in that fight, "unless the Senate pulls another 'nuclear option.'”

Source:
ONE WEEK
Senate Votes To Fund Government
1 days ago
BREAKING
ON TO SENATE
House Passes Spending Bill
1 days ago
BREAKING

The House has passed a one-week spending bill that will avert a government shutdown which was set to begin at midnight. Lawmakers now have an extra week to come to a longer agreement which is expected to fund the government through the end of the fiscal year in September. The legislation now goes to the Senate, where it is expected to pass before President Trump signs it.

PRESIDENT CALLS MEDICAID FUNDS A “BAILOUT”
Puerto Rico Another Sticking Point in Budget Talks
2 days ago
THE DETAILS

President Trump’s portrayal of an effort to funnel more Medicaid dollars to Puerto Rico as a "bailout" is complicating negotiations over a continuing resolution on the budget. "House Democrats are now requiring such assistance as a condition for supporting the continuing resolution," a position that the GOP leadership is amenable to. "But Mr. Trump’s apparent skepticism aligns him with conservative House Republicans inclined to view its request as a bailout, leaving the deal a narrow path to passage in Congress."

Source:
POTENTIAL GOVERNMENT SHUTDOWN?
Democrats Threaten Spending Bill Over Obamacare
2 days ago
BREAKING

Democrats in the House are threatening to shut down the government if Republicans expedite a vote on a bill to repeal and replace Obamacare, said Democratic House Whip Steny Hoyer Thursday. Lawmakers have introduced a one-week spending bill to give themselves an extra week to reach a long-term funding deal, which seemed poised to pass easily. However, the White House is pressuring House Republicans to take a vote on their Obamacare replacement Friday to give Trump a legislative victory, though it is still not clear that they have the necessary votes to pass the health care bill. This could go down to the wire.

Source:
×
×

Welcome to National Journal!

You are currently accessing National Journal from IP access. Please login to access this feature. If you have any questions, please contact your Dedicated Advisor.

Login