All seven Democrats in the Senate running for president were absent Wednesday for a vote to send $4.6 billion in emergency humanitarian relief to the southern border to help thousands of migrant families and unaccompanied children.
Less than 24 hours after House Democrats passed a measure Tuesday night, the Republican-controlled Senate rejected it with a 55-37 vote and approved their own measure with overwhelming bipartisan support with a 84-8 vote, according to the Washington Post.
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Republicans and the White House far prefer the Senate measure but House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is pressing for quick negotiations to merge the bills — promising that Democrats won’t knuckle under to demands to send the Senate bill directly to President Donald Trump without changes.
The Senate vote sent the must-pass legislation measure back the Democratic-controlled House. Next steps are unclear, but Pelosi quickly dismissed speculation that the Democratic-controlled House will simply accept the Senate measure, which cleared a key committee last week with just one dissenting vote. Asked if the House would pass the Senate bill and send it to Trump, Pelosi said, "No."
"They passed their bill, we respect that. We passed our bill, we hope they will respect that. And if there’s some improvements that we think can be reconciled," Pelosi said.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R., Ky.) slammed House Democrats on the floor Wednesday, saying their priorities revolved around "Resistance theater," adding that the Senate "has a better and more bipartisan way forward."
The 2020 Democratic candidates, which include Sens. Cory Booker (N.J), Kamala Harris (Calif.), Amy Klobuchar (Minn.), Michael Bennet (Colo.), Elizabeth Warren (Mass.) Kirsten Gillibrand (N.Y.), and Bernie Sanders (Vt.), were all out of town campaigning and preparing for the primary debates happening this week.
All three of the 2020 House Democrats, who will be participating in this week's debates, were also absent for Tuesday's border vote, according to Politico reporter Sarah Ferris.
Notable: All three 2020 House Dems participating in this week's debates SKIPPED tonight's border vote, which is the chamber's most consequential action on immigration/border policy so far this year
Swalwell,, Gabbard + Ryan
— Sarah Ferris (@sarahnferris) June 26, 2019
Many of these 2020 Democrats have taken to Twitter to criticize the Trump administration and Republicans for the "humanitarian crisis" at the border, but when it came time to cast a vote supporting humanitarian aid, they were absent.
"They had been detained for weeks without access to soap, clean clothes or adequate food."
This is inhumane. In a Warren administration, we will treat immigrant children with the dignity and respect they deserve. https://t.co/WdkLClM4KJ
— Elizabeth Warren (@ewarren) June 26, 2019
— Eric Swalwell (@ericswalwell) June 26, 2019
This is NOT who we are as a country.
This is NOT how we should treat families who are suffering and seeking asylum.
We treat war criminals and terrorists better. https://t.co/5YbUSPxVgE
— Tim Ryan (@TimRyan) June 26, 2019
These families seeking asylum are often fleeing extreme violence. And what happens when they arrive? Trump says, 'Go back to where you came from.' That is inhumane. Children are dying. This is a stain on our moral conscience. https://t.co/NHly7QTiAq
— Kamala Harris (@KamalaHarris) June 26, 2019