The White House took aim Monday at newly elected House Majority Whip Steve Scalise, mocking the Louisiana Republican's criticism of President Obama's $3.7 billion funding request to address the crisis at the U.S.-Mexico border.
“I noticed that the new Republican whip was on one of the Sunday shows yesterday and noted that the administration was asking for what he described as a blank check,'" mused White House press secretary Josh Earnest.
“It makes me think … that he doesn’t know what a ‘blank check’ is,” Earnest added.
Lawmakers thus far have made little progress on a compromise to address the surge in unaccompanied minors crossing the southwest border. They are scheduled to leave town Friday.
Scalise, who is taking over the senior GOP leadership post, blasted the White House over the weekend for its funding demands.
“He's been AWOL on this from the very beginning. We want to actually fix the law, and wouldn't it be good to allow the governors of those border states to be able to call the national guard and to help security the border,” Scalise said of Obama on “Fox News Sunday.”
“This all has to start with securing the border, not writing the president a blank check, to keep doing what he's doing that's not working, but actually solve the problem. Even his own Homeland Security secretary said the 2008 law needs to be changed. We've got to go make those changes.”
Facing backlash from Democrats, the White House has gone silent on changing a 2008 law that would make it easier to speed deportations of children back to their homes in Central America. On Monday, Earnest sidestepped a question on why the administration didn't include the legislation in its proposed overhaul.
The White House also did not directly say whether Congress should delay its scheduled recess if lawmakers can’t make a deal before their summer break.