The White House on Tuesday threw cold water on a pared-down Republican bill to address the crisis at the U.S.-Mexico border, dismissing the legislative package as insufficient and "arbitrary" just days before Congress is expected to leave town for an extended recess.
Earlier Tuesday, GOP leaders announced a plan to vote on a $659 million bill to slow a surge in crossings by illegal immigrant children at the southwest border. President Obama had requested $3.7 billion from lawmakers, but Republicans accused the White House of demanding a “blank check.”
Now the White House is countering that Republicans aren’t serious about addressing the border security issues they spent weeks amplifying.
“Adding arbitrary deadlines to an already overburdened system only makes the problem worse,” White House press secretary Josh Earnest said, focusing on a provision that would require immigration judges to process cases within seven days.
The White House has blasted Republicans recently for not acting to address the border crisis. GOP leaders are banking that Democrats will absorb the blame if they block the scaled-down blueprint put forward by Republicans on Tuesday.
And the White House is continuing to resist GOP changes to a 2008 law that would make it easier to send illegal immigrant children back to their home countries.
“Maybe I have a more stringent definition of bipartisanship,” Earnest quipped.
Tens of thousands of unaccompanied minors from Central America have entered the U.S. this year alone. If lawmakers don’t reach a comprise this week, the issues at the border could mushroom, analysts have predicted.
Republicans are expected to vote on the border bill Thursday.