Pelosi’s Border Deal Exposes Growing Dem Rift

Pelosi’s Border Deal Exposes Growing Dem Rift


The Democratic party broke into what Politico described as “open warfare” late this week, as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi “reluctantly” agreed to allow a vote on a Senate-passed emergency border aid package.

While centrists had pushed for passage of the $4.6 billion funding bill, arguing that lawmakers needed to get resources to the border as quickly as possible, progressives were outraged by what they saw as a capitulation to a Trump administration they argued can’t be trusted to properly use the money meant for humanitarian aid. The Senate legislation did not include the protections and requirements progressives had gotten added to a House version of the bill.

Vice President Mike Pence reportedly promised Pelosi that the administration would make administrative changes at the border, including a 90-day time limit on children spending time in an influx facility and a pledge that lawmakers would be notified within 24 hours after the death of a child in custody. 

In the end, the Senate version passed the House Thursday in a 305-102 vote, with 95 Democrats voting against the measure. The 305 votes in favor included 176 Republicans and 129 Democrats.

Why it matters: In addition to its impact at the border, the internal Democratic clash could be a sign of things to come in other fights. Rep. Mark Pocan (D-WI), co-chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, reportedly warned that the turn of events on the border bill could drive his 90 members to dig in on other key bills. “The battle,” Politico said, “further illustrates the hurdles Pelosi faces in the fall as she tries to keep her caucus united while negotiating with Republicans to avoid a fiscal cliff and debt default.”