U.S. Reps. Tom Suozzi (D-Glen Cove) and Kathleen Rice (D-Garden City) both voted in favor of a contentious $4.6 billion emergency aid package for the southern border that split House Democrats.
Over 90 Democrats voted against the Senate bill that omitted additional guidelines on the spending of funds and defined basic standards of care for detainees that had been included in the House’s version of the bill. It passed 305-102.
The House unveiled its version of the bill late Wednesday, for which a vote was canceled last minute on Thursday afternoon when the news broke that 18 Democrats planned to vote against the bill, enough to kill it.
Members of the Problem Solvers’ Caucus, with which Suozzi is affiliated, tweeted demands for the House to vote on the Senate’s bill instead of the House’s amended version.
“Congress needed to act to address the humanitarian crisis at the border,” Suozzi said in an email. “The bill that overwhelmingly passed the Senate and the House will improve the conditions at the border by providing appropriate food, shelter, clothing and medical care to families fleeing the violence and poverty of their home countries.”
“For over two years, the Trump Administration has implemented a series of cruel immigration policies that have culminated in a full-blown humanitarian crisis at our border,” Rice said in an email. “And I believe Congress has a moral and professional obligation to address this humanitarian crisis immediately. That’s why I voted in favor of the Senate’s humanitarian supplemental funding bill.”
Rice said she strongly supported the House’s version of the bill “because it included the toughest guardrails to protect migrants and ensure accountability over the administration.”
“However, that was not the bill that came to the floor,” she said. “Instead, we were presented with the Senate’s bipartisan bill, which, while far from perfect, still included many of those same protections and accountability measures.”
The bill that passed includes a 90-day limit for children spending time in temporary intake facilities and a requirement to notify lawmakers of a detained child’s death within 24 hours.
Progressives raised concerns with entrusting President Donald Trump with the emergency border aid funds without having set guidelines.
U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-Bronx, Queens) said in a tweet: “The Senate Bill will have us write a $4.6 Billion Blank check (incl military $) for the border w no accountability- just a verbal pinky promise.”
Suozzi said that the bill “does not provide one cent for the wall and prohibits DHS from transferring funds for any other purpose.”
“However, this is just a band-aid over the gaping wound that is our broken immigration system and will require both sides to work together to solve this issue that has only grew worse over the past 30 years,” he said.
“When we passed this bill, we did so clear-eyed, recognizing that it should have been stronger and that our work is far from done,” Rice said. “Congress must continue to hold this administration accountable for its inhumane practices and fight to provide migrants families with the care they need and the justice they deserve. I remain committed to that effort.”