June 25, 2019
WASHINGTON – At the weekly Republican leadership press conference, U.S. Senator Roy Blunt (Mo.), Chairman of the Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies, urged Congress to quickly pass the bipartisan emergency border funding bill, which was approved by the Senate Appropriations Committee by a vote of 30-1 last week.
The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) currently has more than 13,500 children in their care and they have fewer than 550 available beds. More than 800 children are in Department of Homeland Security custody waiting to be transferred to HHS. The bill advanced by the committee includes $2.88 billion, the full amount requested by the president, for HHS to provide care and shelter for unaccompanied children in its custody.
Following Are Blunt’s Remarks:
“Well, on the emergency supplemental at the border, we’ve already… in nine months we will have exceeded the highest numbers of unaccompanied children we ever had in an entire year before. The shift from single individuals coming to the border, which is where we were 10 years ago, is dramatically toward families with children. But, remember, the unaccompanied children are not families with children.
“And in fact, those families with children are now being processed sooner than they ever had been before, but there are just more of them than anybody anticipated. So those agencies come, through the administration, and ask for more money, and here we are weeks later without that money. But then when you listen to the Democrat talking heads on this topic, it’s ‘why isn’t the administration doing a better job taking care of either unaccompanied children or families.’ And the reason is, they don’t have any money.
“We have exceeded numbers, we’ve run out of money, we have had plenty of notice to do something about this. Hopefully, the entire Senate and the entire Congress will do what 30 of 31 Senate appropriators did last week, get this done, and solve this particular part of that crisis.”