Updated 1:23 p.m. | Sen. Ted Cruz once again met with a group of the House’s most conservative lawmakers Wednesday morning to discuss potential legislative responses to the flood of children crossing the border.
Cruz met with “more than 20” House Republicans Wednesday morning, according to Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa, to discuss a supplemental package meant to address the influx of unaccompanied minors at the border. “I didn’t have a hard count, but I know that it was more than 20,” King said.
According to the Iowa Republican, lawmakers had breakfast and listened to Cruz’s take on the crisis.
“The main agenda was to hear from Ted Cruz and his perspective on immigration,” King said. “And then many people around the table weighed in and we had an open discussion.”
King noted that lawmakers didn’t know the exact details of the package at the time — Republicans learned more about it in conference Wednesday morning. But, in general, lawmakers seem concerned that whatever the House sends over to the Senate will be amended to not include changes to a 2008 human trafficking law. Republicans want the law changed to expedite the deportation of children from Central American countries who are coming to the United States in droves.
“There’s an understanding that whatever might go to the Senate will come back to us, if it comes back at all, and we would describe it as ‘terrible,’ King said. “And so, again, there’s no one who has explained how you can start something in the House and get it to the president’s desk and think that you’ve improved the situation when you have a president that, and, I think, a Harry Reid in the Senate — they don’t even want to amend the 2008 bill. They’re for what that’s causing.”
The group heard from a number of lawmakers, including Matt Salmon, R-Ariz., who was considering offering his own fix for the border crisis. Following the border working group’s release of their suggestions, Salmon issued a statement signing off on their recommendations.
“The House will now take up these recommendations so that we can quickly send them to the Senate for a vote and to the President for implementation,” Salmon said. “I expect that whatever proposal we pass will remain fiscally responsible and not add to our deficit.”
The meeting was part of a regular breakfast with the Conservative Opportunity Society, of which King is the chairman.
Members met in the narrow Henry J. Hyde room of the Capitol, where a quote above the door from William Allen White reads: “Whoever is fighting for liberty is defending America.”