House Republicans emerged from a meeting Friday feeling optimistic they could pass a plan to stem the flow of unaccompanied children trying to cross the border—but the proposal was then shot down by Democrats. Washington Bureau Reporter Michael Scotto filed the following report for NY1.
President Barack Obama met Friday with the presidents of three Central American countries to discuss the surge of children trying to cross the southern border.
The sit-down came hours after Republicans met behind closed doors to discuss their own plan to deal with the crisis.
"I think there's broad recognition in the conference that it's time to act and lead on this issue," says Rep. Tom Reed.
The proposal Republicans appear to be coalescing around would provide the president with billions of dollars less than he's requesting and make changes to a 2008 law that many say is contributing to the border crisis.
That law makes it harder to deport Central American children.
The plan is being blasted by Democrats, though, who say they will oppose any effort to tweak that law, because they fear doing so would eliminate important protections for migrant children.
"I very firmly believe that it would be a mistake for us to do immigration law in a supplemental bill. We're not supposed to be legislating in an appropriations bill," says House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi.
Republicans acknowledge that it will be harder to pass their plan without the support of Democrats.
That's because some conservative members are skeptical of doing anything that gives the president more money to spend.
"Time and again, Nancy Pelosi, with an iron fist, shuts down her conference. And she's doing it again, which makes it very difficult for one party with a such a divergent membership from all over the United States to do it on their own and that's the speaker's challenge," says Rep. Chris Collins.
The other challenge is that Democrats in the Senate are working on their own bill. Their plan would also give the president less than he's requesting, but it would not touch immigration policy.
Lawmakers have just a week to strike a deal before they leave town on their month-long August recess.