Congressional leaders in the Senate and the House of Representatives have left for their August holiday without an agreement being reached on immigration. CNN says that Republicans in the House did not vote on the issue of the $659m emergency response bill to provide funds to deal with the growing concerns about the amount of undocumented immigrants crossing the border from Central America.
The $2.7bn plan developed by Democrats in the Senate to respond to the surge in undocumented immigrants arriving in the United States failed to secure the requisite 60 votes; President Obama had previously asked Congress for $3.7bn in funding for the emergency. The money would have been used to speed up the processing time for undocumented immigrants, including the many unaccompanied minors crossing the border from Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador, and to increase border security.
The bill was drafted by the House of Representative but the expected vote was canceled following a meeting between members of the Republican party, who told CNN that there would be no vote until they had the necessary support to pass the bill through the Senate.
House speaker John Boehner has suggested that emergency money could be obtained by Obama taking executive action, despite having brought a lawsuit against the president for doing just this with regard to health care. “There are numerous steps the president can and should be taking right now, without the need for congressional action,” a House Republican statement insisted.