House Dems remain at loggerheads after border funding flareup

By Alexis Simendinger and Al Weaver

Pelosi takes fire from progressives over border

© Greg Nash

Just over a week after internal discord spilled into the open, tensions still simmer within the House Democratic Caucus over how to tackle the situation at the border including abysmal conditions for the detention of some migrants.

As Rafael Bernal and Juliegrace Brufke report, the battle over the $4.6 billion border bill supplemental funding that passed the House on June 27 left wounds within the conference. Progressives and moderates disagree within the party, as evidenced by a high-profile back-and-forth skirmish between Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.).

The two Democratic heavyweights have clashed since the speaker made dismissive remarks about the influence of the freshman lawmaker in an interview with The New York Times, suggesting the firebrands are “four people” in the House Democratic caucus, adding that “they didn’t have any following” outside of Twitter.

The Progressive Change Campaign Committee, a top left-wing organization, blasted Pelosi for her remarks, saying Ocasio-Cortez is “more of a true leader” than the speaker.

Pelosi has since tried to turn the page and work toward addressing the situation for migrants at facilities such as the one in Clint, Texas, a focus of media attention after Ocasio-Cortez and 20 other House Democrats toured the facility early last week.

“Whether or not the President responds to our request to improve medical care standards for the health and safety of children, and while Senator McConnell still refuses to help the children suffering in these deplorable conditions, we must lead a Battle Cry across America to protect the children,” Pelosi wrote in a note to her colleagues.

While the two Democrats duke it out, a larger and potentially more consequential fight is playing out between members of the Congressional Progressive Caucus (CPC) and the Problem Solvers Caucus, a main vehicle for the party’s moderates. After the votes to approve supplemental funding for needs at the border, progressive members believe it will be tough to work with moderate colleagues, and some have threatened to retaliate by slowing committee momentum for select bills. CPC members chair many of the committees, including Judiciary, Rules, Oversight and Reform, Homeland Security, Small Business, and Natural Resources.

“I mean, it’s just gonna be a lot harder for us to care enough to help deliver votes,” said Rep. Mark Pocan (D-Wis.), co-chairman of the CPC, who recently referred to the Problem Solvers Caucus as the “Child Abuse Caucus” over its support for the border supplemental.

The Washington Post: House to vote on new border bill amid outcry over conditions at migrant detention centers.

> As Democrats debate what to do next, the Department of Homeland Security is continuing its crackdown of the border and asked the Pentagon to authorize 1,000 additional Texas National Guard troops to the region “to provide supplemental holding and port of entry enforcement support.”

The increase would be in addition to the 1,900 National Guard members already at the border and 2,300 active-duty troops who are on border-related missions. The request was made on Wednesday (CNN).

Meanwhile, the House is back to work today after a 10-day July Fourth recess, set to resume negotiations on spending caps and a hike in the debt ceiling. Those congressional talks are in limbo with less than three months left before a fiscal deadline looms. Half of that time is expected to be spent away from Washington as House members return to their districts for a six-week August recess.

As CNN’s Phil Mattingly reports:

“The preferred method is to strike an all-encompassing two-year budget deal. At this point, after several meetings of top negotiators, things have moved further away from a deal. The internal dynamics of the Democratic caucus laid bare by the immigration funding fight two weeks ago have only served to exacerbate concerns about any path to a final resolution.”

Bloomberg: Debt limit, USMCA clocks ticking as Pelosi wrangles her party.

The Hill: White House repeatedly blocks ex-aide from answering Judiciary panel questions.

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