Senate Border Deal Faces Uncertain Path Forward Amid Mounting Opposition

Many Republicans blasted the bill, which has money for Ukraine, Israel and the US border, while Democrats largely voiced support for it.
Senate Border Deal Faces Uncertain Path Forward Amid Mounting Opposition
The U.S. Capitol in Washington on Jan. 10, 2024. (Samuel Corum/Getty Images)
Jackson Richman

Republicans and Democrats in Congress are expressing mixed reactions to the bipartisan Senate border and foreign aid deal announced on Feb. 4.

On the whole, Republicans denounced the bill while Democrats supported it.

In addition to funding for border-related activities and new border policies, the $118 billion supplemental bill includes more than $60 billion for Ukraine amid its war with Russia, the second anniversary of which will be on Feb. 24, and more than $14 billion in assistance to Israel amid its war in Gaza with the terrorist group Hamas.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) called for passage of the deal, which was negotiated for months among Sens. James Lankford (R-Okla.), Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), and Kyrsten Sinema (I-Ariz.).

In a Feb. 4 statement, Mr. Schumer called the measure “a monumental step towards strengthening America’s national security abroad and along our borders” and “one of the most necessary and important pieces of legislation Congress has put forward in years to ensure America’s future prosperity and security.”

Mr. Schumer is set to file cloture on Feb. 5, a procedural move that sets up a vote on the bill by the middle of the week.

“I have said over and over that the only way we will rise to the occasion is if both sides are serious about finding bipartisan policy solutions,” he said.

“Senators must shut out the noise from those who want this agreement to fail for their own political agendas.”

Mr. McConnell called on senators to address the issues and approve the legislation.

“America’s sovereignty is being tested here at home, and our credibility is being tested by emboldened adversaries around the world,” he said in a statement.

“The challenges we face will not resolve themselves, nor will our adversaries wait for America to muster the resolve to meet them. The Senate must carefully consider the opportunity in front of us and prepare to act.”

In his statement, Mr. McConnell denounced the Biden administration’s border policies, including revoking the Trump administration’s requirement that asylum seekers remain in Mexico while their cases are under review.

“The Biden administration’s refusal to secure the border created an unprecedented crisis, and the urgent humanitarian and security consequences affect every state,” he said.

“It is time to force the president to start cleaning up his mess and equip future leaders with a system that works and new emergency tools to restore order.”

However, other Republicans dissented.

‘Incentivizes Illegal Entry’

“I can’t support a bill that doesn’t secure the border, provides taxpayer funded lawyers to illegal immigrants and gives billions to radical open borders groups. I’m a no,” Sen. Steve Daines (R-Mont.) wrote on social media platform X.

Mr. Daines called on President Joe Biden, who supports the agreement, to use his existing executive authority to secure the border.

“Throughout this process, I said I was listening and hoping for a solution, but to my disappointment, this bill misses the mark,” Sen. Roger Marshall (R-Kan.) wrote.
“The terrible $118 billion supplemental worsens the border invasion, incentivizes illegal entry, sends more taxpayer $ to Ukraine, and exacerbates our fiscal crisis,” Rep. Bob Good (R-Va.), the chairman of the hardline conservative House Freedom Caucus, wrote on X.

“Americans will see which Republicans are on their side based on who supports or opposes this disaster.”

Sen. Alex Padilla (D-Calif.) took issue with the bill’s immigration provisions, and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) denounced its Israel assistance portion.

Sen. Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii) defended the legislation.

“I do think House Republicans are underestimating how easy it will be to point out that this bill does the stuff they asked for and they suddenly opposed it because Trump wanted to deny Biden a victory. It’s quite easy to explain in the suburbs,” he wrote on X.

Rep. Bill Pascrell Jr. (D-N.J.) echoed Mr. Schatz and said Republicans are opposing the bill because former President Donald Trump, the front-runner for the GOP presidential nomination, is against the bill and therefore the GOP wants to play politics ahead of the November election.

“Good morning. The republican house leadership today has already declared any historic deal to solve republicans’ so-called #1 priority ‘dead on arrival’ because donald trump has demanded they do nothing. Pathetic and despicable,” he wrote.

House Speaker Mike Johnson said that the bill is dead on arrival in the House were it to pass the Senate—an outcome far from guaranteed.

“I’ve seen enough. This bill is even worse than we expected, and won’t come close to ending the border catastrophe the President has created,” Mr. Johnson said. “As the lead Democrat negotiator proclaimed: Under this legislation, ’the border never closes,'” he posted on X.

The House GOP leadership—Mr. Johnson, House Majority Leader Steve Scalise (R-La.), House Majority Whip Tom Emmer (R-Minn.), and House GOP Conference Chairwoman Elise Stefanik (R-N.Y.)—released a joint statement on Feb. 5 denoucing the bill.

“House Republicans oppose the Senate immigration bill because it fails in every policy area needed to secure our border and would actually incentivize more illegal immigration,” they stated.

“Any consideration of this Senate bill in its current form is a waste of time. It is DEAD on arrival in the House,” they added. “We encourage the U.S. Senate to reject it.”

Jackson Richman is a Washington correspondent for The Epoch Times. In addition to Washington politics, he covers the intersection of politics and sports/sports and culture. He previously was a writer at Mediaite and Washington correspondent at Jewish News Syndicate. His writing has also appeared in The Washington Examiner. He is an alum of George Washington University.
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