WASHINGTON, D.C (Nexstar) — This week, the U.S. House and Senate will each vote on funding packages to provide humanitarian relief and support at the United States-Mexico Border. They then must reconcile their different bills and pass measures all agree upon before it heads to President Donald Trump.
Lawmakers must do all of that this week, before their July 4 recess that begins Friday. If they don’t, employees at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services may not get paid. Effectively, they’ll be in “shutdown mode,” according to House Minority Whip Steve Scalise, R-LA.
Since 2003, the Office of Refugee Resettlement has helped care for more than 340,000 children apprehended at the border without family, according to its website. Funding for the Unaccompanied Children Program could run out in early July without a bill, Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar said.
A Senate committee passed a $4.5 billion emergency border package last week, but some in the House, like Rep. Steny Hoyer, D-MD, say it didn’t do enough to address humanitarian assistance. However, Rep. Louie Gohmert, R-TX, says lawmakers should focus instead on securing the border.
The House Rules Committee is expected to take up its bill Monday evening.