Scalise to Pelosi: Stop Playing Political Games with Humanitarian Crisis

June 25, 2019
Press Release

WASHINGTON, D.C.—House Republican Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.) joined fellow Republican leaders to highlight the serious humanitarian crisis at our southern border and Speaker Nancy Pelosi's (D-Calif.) failure to act. For weeks, Whip Scalise has called on House Democrat leaders to provide critical funding for the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and Department of Homeland Security (DHS) before current funding runs out. Yet Speaker Pelosi delayed bringing forward legislation until the midnight hour and is filling it with political poison pills. Whip Scalise called on the Speaker to stop playing political games and finally work to seriously address this crisis. 

Click here or on the image above to watch the remarks.

On the humanitarian crisis at the border:

“Thanks [Rep. Mike Rogers (R-Ala.)] for your work and identifying this problem. We’ve known for months now that there is a serious crisis at our nation’s border. This goes beyond border security. Clearly, there are so many things we have to do to get a secure border. We have to ultimately stop all of these interior loophole laws that are becoming magnets to draw people here illegally.

“Our asylum laws are so broken that they’ve literally led to hundreds of thousands of people coming across illegally. Just look at the numbers right now. I talked to the Homeland Security Secretary yesterday about this crisis. They’re getting over 300 young children every single day—every single day—that they have to turn over to Health and Human Services because they have health issues, health needs that need to be met and they are going to run out of money by next week. This is how serious this is.”

On the need for Congress to provide funding to HHS to provide care at the border:

“If Congress does not act this week—and by the way this is no midnight hour crisis. For over a month now, President Trump has been calling on congress to act and address this crisis. He sent down his supplemental request over a month ago. Every single week I’ve brought it up to the Majority Leader. The Speaker’s been well aware of it, and they’ve chosen to ignore the crisis. They’ve let it come to a head where if we leave this week for July 4th recess, without addressing the crisis, that agency in HHS will go into a government shutdown. Literally, will go into a government shutdown. What that means is those HHS employees will be required by law to come to work to take care of those young kids and will not be able to get paid. Steny Hoyer even acknowledged that this is going to be the case next week if they don’t take action.”

On Speaker Pelosi’s failure to address this crisis:

“Now, why didn’t speaker Pelosi bring this bill up weeks ago? I can’t explain why she didn’t do that. She has allowed it to come to a head where we’re literally at the midnight hour. The agency is literally about to go into a government shutdown, and they won’t have the money to take care of these young kids. Again, there are over 300 young kids a day that are being turned over to HHS with health needs that will not be able to be met if this bill doesn’t pass. And so, what is speaker Pelosi’s answer?

“Today, they are still trying to figure out what they’re going to do. They still haven’t gotten a bill that’s ready to be brought to the Floor to solve this crisis. And so, the latest bill that they’ve put forward, the President’s issued a veto threat on it because it doesn’t allow him to solve the problem.”

On Speaker Pelosi’s decision to play political games with this funding rather than advance a bipartisan bill:

“It doesn’t allow his agencies to take care of those young kids. They actually put restrictions on DHS and HHS and even our Department of Defense who are trying to take care of these young kids. And so, it’s time for Speaker Pelosi to stop playing political games with these young kids that are coming across our border.

“These agents are federal workers that are trying to take care of them. You’ve got border patrol agents right now that are spending their money, out of their own pockets, to buy diapers for these young kids because the agency is out of money. And Speaker Pelosi won’t bring a bill to the Floor to address this crisis? Stop playing games. Stop playing games with these young kids.

“Sure, you might have disagreements with the President. We’re not even talking about the broader issue of solving this problem and ending the magnet that’s bringing these kids here illegally. The asylum loopholes that everybody knows are a problem. That she won’t fix. We’re not even talking about that right now. We’re talking about the humanitarian crisis. Just the basic money to take care of these young kids that are coming over every single day. The agency will go into shutdown next week if they don’t solve the problem now. Not with a partisan bill that they know will get vetoed.

“But look at the Senate, with a 30 to 1 vote last week. They passed a bill that’s not the ideal bill, but it at least solves the problem right now. It will at least get the crisis resolved right now. That’s the approach that Speaker Pelosi ought to be taking. It’s the approach that has to be taken if we’re going to solve this by the end of this week. So, the agency doesn’t go into shutdown and those young kids will be left in limbo.”

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