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The city of Washington has been so dominated with Supreme Court news that it's easy to forget there's other business underway. The House is taking the lead on a lot of it, combing through the second largest spending bill Congress sees every year: the Labor-HHS-Education package. On a typical day, mark-ups like this one don't get a lot of national attention. This time around though, things are different. And a red-hot debate over the border is a big reason why.
There's a lot to unpack about any $177 billion dollar appropriations bill. Democrats, however, will be focused on one thing: family separation and what HHS is doing about it. The president's opponents have been doing their best to keep the issue front and center despite at least two hurdles: 1) President Trump largely ended the practice by executive order earlier this summer and 2) public polling, which shows that most Americans blame the parents – not the White House – for the separations.
House - Minority - Leader - Nancy - Pelosi
Still, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi's (D-Calif.) party vowed to make an issue of it in committee, promising to introduce as many as 50 amendments on the subject. Congressman Tom Cole (R-Okla.), who oversees the Labor-HHS-Education spending, told reporters he was staying the course. As far as he's concerned, the administration hasn't asked for more money to deal with the issue at the border because HHS is appropriately handling it. In an interview with CQ, he said he was "loathe to use the spending process to enact any broad policy overhauls."
And, based on the transparent reporting by HHS, there's no reason for it. When the agency was asked for a status update on reunifying families, the department was blunt. After a court ordered HHS officials to put 102 children back with the parents by July 10, HHS made no...
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