Washington D.C. – Congressman Adam Smith released the following statement regarding yesterday’s vote on the emergency supplemental legislation.  

“Without question, there is a humanitarian crisis at our southern border. Earlier this week, I voted for a bill that would have provided much-needed funding to support and care for migrant children and families, including improved access to health care, food, and safer living conditions. However, I voted against the Senate’s supplemental bill yesterday.

 The Senate supplemental legislation puts far too much faith in an Administration that has time and again demonstrated a complete abdication of its responsibility to provide a safe environment for children and individuals in its care, a flagrant disregard for our system of separation of powers and Congress’s role in governance, as well as a propensity to disregard norms and rules that constrain the expenditure of taxpayer dollars. Individuals, including children, have died in the care of the federal government. The Administration has redirected resources towards his wall and has unnecessarily and cruelly increased deportation of long-time community members, while doing far too little to ensure the health and safety of the people his policies have harmed.

 It is entirely reasonable for Congress to demand that basic standards of care are met for vulnerable children. It is not too much for Congress to ask that the money we approve for food, medical support, the care of children, and improved facilities are actually spent for those purposes. The Senate bill we voted on yesterday failed to include these requirements. It allows the Trump Administration significant discretion to spend funds within the Department of Homeland Security how they see fit; not necessarily consistent with the intent of Congress. It also does not include a requirement that the federal government establish standards of care to better ensure the health and safety of children and adults and lacks a provision in the House-passed bill that placed limits on keeping unaccompanied children at unlicensed facilities. 

 The Senate should have taken the House up on its offer to come together and resolve differences between each chamber’s bill, as we do for countless other pieces of legislation, but Republican Senate Majority Leader McConnell refused to even discuss this legislation with the leadership of the House.”