U.S. Sen. Richard Shelby, R-Alabama, gave a speech Wednesday on the Senate floor supporting emergency supplemental appropriations for humanitarian assistance and security at the southern border prior to the Senate vote on the bill.
The legislation passed the Senate Appropriations Committee last week by a vote of 30 to 1 and passed the full Senate on Wednesday by a vote of 84 to 8. It provides a total of $4.59 billion to address the crisis at the border.
“This is a solid bill,” Shelby said. “It provides the resources needed to address the crisis we face. It contains no poison pills, and it is poised to pass the Senate with strong bipartisan support, unlike the version that came out of the House last night. So I say to our colleagues in the House, now that there is bipartisan acknowledgment that the crisis on our southern border is real, do not derail the one bipartisan vehicle with a real chance of becoming law. Those who want to alleviate the suffering on our southern border will soon have a bipartisan path forward in the Senate bill. Those who choose to obstruct over partisan demands will soon have a lot of questions to answer when this crisis escalates further. There is no excuse for Congress leaving town at the end of the week without getting this done. Let’s come together and do our job.”
The $4.59 billion bipartisan package in emergency supplemental appropriations to address the humanitarian and security crisis at the border, includes:
- $2.88 billion for the Department of Health and Human Services to provide safe and appropriate shelter and care for children in its custody
- $1.1 billion for Customs and Border Protection to establish migrant care and processing facilities, provide medical care and consumables and pay travel and overtime costs for personnel
- $209 million for Immigration and Customs Enforcement to fund transportation costs and medical care for detainees, conduct human trafficking operations and pay travel and overtime costs for personnel
- $30 million for Federal Emergency Management Agency to reimburse states and localities for expenses they have incurred related to the massive influx of migrants
- $220 million for the Department of Justice to help process immigration cases and provide resources to the U.S. Marshals Service for the care and detention of federal detainees
- $145 million for the various branches of the U.S. military who have incurred operating expenses in support of multiple missions along the border.
“There is no longer any question that the situation along our southern border is a full-blown humanitarian and security crisis,” Shelby said. “Leader (Mitch) McConnell has firmly established this fact here on the Senate floor and charges from the other side of a manufactured crisis have fallen silent.”
“We know what our professionals on the front lines need to get a handle on the situation,” Shelby added. “The only question is, will Congress come together and act or fall prey to partisanship while the crisis escalates further? I am pleased to say that last week the Appropriations Committee charted a course for strong, bipartisan action.”
“Such an overwhelming bipartisan vote would not have been possible without the cooperation of my good friend and vice chairman, Sen. Leahy.” Shelby added. “I want to thank Vice Chairman Leahy for working with me to find a path forward. This bipartisan committee product, which I will soon offer as a substitute amendment to the House bill, provides $4.59 billion in emergency supplemental appropriations to address the humanitarian and security crisis at the border. It does not contain everything Vice Chairman Leahy wanted. It does not contain everything I wanted. More importantly, it does not contain any poison pills from either side. That is why it passed the Appropriations Committee by a vote of 30-1. And that is what gives us the best chance of passing a bill without further delay.”
It is now up to the House of Representatives to either concur with the bipartisan Senate substitute or vote to non-concur and go to a conference committee, a move that would likely mean nothing gets done on this until after the July 4 break.
U.S. Sen. Richard Shelby, R-Alabama, is the chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee.
Shelby has served longer in the U.S. Senate, over 32 years, than any other senator in Alabama history. He served eight years in the House of Representatives and eight years in the Alabama Senate representing Tuscaloosa before that.
How to deal with border security and immigration reform is arguably one of the most vexing problem faced by the Congress today.
To see video of Shelby addressing the Senate: