Republican Sen. Mitch McConnell of Kentucky took aim at congressional Democrats this week for their unwillingness to cooperate with Republicans and the Trump administration on any legislation relating to immigration.
Democratic members of Congress have been unwilling in recent weeks to go along with Senate Appropriations Committee proposals to increase funding strictly for humanitarian aid, Immigration and Customs Enforcement and more detention beds at the U.S.-Mexico border.
In an appearance on “Fox & Friends” Monday morning, the Senate Majority leader railed against his congressional opponents, demanding to know what their “objection” to the funding increase was.
McConnell went on to suggest their only objection was that the Trump administration had proposed the funding increase — and that the Democratic dissent was merely a function of partisan politics.
“I think they’re suffering from Trump derangement syndrome,” McConnell said. “Whatever he’s for they are reflexively against.”
McConnell told Fox that, at Trump’s request, the Appropriations Committee had attempted to include a “roughly $5 billion” funding increase to humanitarian aid at the border in a recent supplemental appropriations package to aid communities impacted by flooding in Puerto Rico, Florida, Alabama, Georgia, Iowa and Nebraska.
The Hill confirmed, reporting Monday that the White House had requested approximately $4.5 billion for strictly humanitarian aid resources, and another $1.1 billion for more beds at detention facilities and other ICE investigation-related resources.
Democrats, however, immediately requested that these new provisions be removed, according to McConnell.
“In the Senate we wanted to add to it roughly $5 billion dollars the president’s requested to deal not with the wall, but just the humanitarian part of the crisis at the border,” McConnell said. “The Democrats insisted on stripping it out.”
In a final attempt to see the funds appropriated, McConnell has resolved to bring the funding increase to the Senate Floor “freestanding” as soon as possible.
“I’m going to bring it up freestanding next week and see if they really aren’t interested in dealing with this mass of humanity that we have to take care of at the border,” he said. “What’s the objection?
“This is not about ‘the wall,’ but about the humanitarian crisis.”
McConnell was not confident, however, that his colleagues would find unity on the issue — despite their frequent requests for Trump to address the health, safety and living conditions of detained migrants.
In fact, the senator said he was more confident in the president’s ability to get concessions from Mexico itself on immigration.
“Actually, I think it’s safe to say the president is getting more cooperation out of Mexico than he is out of congressional Democrats,” McConnell told Fox.
“We want to build a wall. We think the president has made a good case for that,” he continued. “That’s not what this is about. This is just the humanitarian part of the problem.”
Bipartisan leadership on the Senate Appropriations Committee drafted a tentative package Tuesday, The Hill reported.
Drafted by Republican Sen. Richard Shelby, the committee chairman, and Democrat Sen. Patrick Leavy, the $4.59 billion plan was approved by the body by a vote of 30-1.
The measure will be brought to a floor vote within the next week, where it will require 60 votes to pass.
Truth and Accuracy
We are committed to truth and accuracy in all of our journalism. Read our editorial standards.