June 26, 2019
WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Roy Blunt (Mo.), Chairman of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies, released the following statement after voting in favor of an emergency funding bill to address the crisis at the southern border. The Senate passed the bill by a vote of 84 to 8.
“There are three facts that are clear here. First, there is a crisis on the southern border. As of this week, the Department of Health and Human Services has more than 13,500 children in its care and fewer than 550 beds available. More than 800 children are in Department of Homeland Security custody waiting to be transferred to HHS. Second, HHS is quickly running out of money to take care of these kids. HHS Secretary Alex Azar told Congress back in April: ‘we need help.’ That was two months ago. Third, there is a clear path forward. The Senate passed this emergency funding bill with overwhelming, bipartisan support. There is absolutely no reason we shouldn’t be able to send this bill to the president’s desk this week.
“This funding will help get kids out of Customs and Border Protection facilities quicker and into safe, child-appropriate facilities operated by HHS, where they will have access to medical care, counseling, and education services. That should be our goal. The only thing standing in the way is the Democrat-led House. Today’s vote should send a clear message to the House that this is not the time to make a political point. This is a crisis, and it will only get worse. We need to get this done, and we need to get it done now.”
The bill passed by the Senate includes $2.88 billion, the full amount requested by the president, for HHS to provide care and shelter for unaccompanied children in its custody.