Republican leaders on Monday night were finalizing language on the bill, to be presented to House Republicans in a closed-door conference on Tuesday morning. But rather than providing funding through the end of this calendar year—as was under consideration last week—Appropriations Committee Chairman Harold Rogers said Monday that this version would require the money provided to be used by Sept. 30.
He would not identify the precise amount of funding in the plan, other than to say it would be under $1 billion and would be offset by spending cuts elsewhere in the federal budget. Some sources have indicated it will be much less than $1 billion.
Regardless, it is expected to be significantly less than the Democratic-led Senate's $2.7 billion plan—which the White House said on Monday the administration supports—and would be a greatly scaled back version of the president's initial $3.7 billion request. That might not be a problem for the administration: The Congressional Budget Office has projected that even under Obama's proposal, just $25 million would actually be spent through September.
"I think this bill is a fair, even-handed, sufficient approach to solve the problem. What the Senate does, we'll have to wait and see," said Rogers, adding he was optimistic it could pass the House.
Against this backdrop, some fiscal conservatives who have opposed any more spending did not appear to be backing off Monday on their insistence that they be able to make their case on the House floor. That was underscored in efforts to get a vote on a resolution authored by Rep. Trent Franks, R-Ariz., and sent Monday to House leaders. A copy was obtained by National Journal.
That wording declares that, "Whereas the President currently has the necessary tools at his disposal to solve the humanitarian crisis at the border with existing funding from Congress," that "Now, therefore be it resolved: That the House of Representatives agrees with the President that there is an actual humanitarian crisis on the border that only underscores the need to drop the politics and fix our immigration system once and for all."
The resolution further calls on the president "to use the resources already at his disposal to gain certifiable control of the border."
Among the courses of action recommended in the resolution would be for the president to "cease releasing convicted criminal aliens from detention," begin "cracking down on fraudulent asylum claims," and be "giving Border Patrol agents access to federal lands where drug traffickers, human smugglers, and unlawful migrants hide."
In addition, the resolution accuses the Obama administration of having sent "a broad signal to unlawful immigrants that, once they enter the United States, they can remain here in violation of the law without consequence." It demands that Obama instead "send a clear message that those who are seeking to enter the United States illegally will be returned to their home countries."