Bipartisan border bill likely doomed as U.S. Senate votes loom

WASHINGTON — U.S. Senate Democrats are pushing for a second attempt to pass a bipartisan border security bill that failed in February after Republicans walked away from the deal they helped craft and will likely fail again when the Senate votes on the bill Thursday.

“So why are we raising this bill a second time?” said Senator Chris Murphy of Connecticut, who was one of the three negotiators of this solution. “The answer is simple. Democrats care about border security.”

The expected vote comes as immigration continues to boost greatest concern for voters in the polls, and the presumptive candidate of the Republican Party for president, Donald J. Trump, focused his re-election campaign on this issue, promising to restore the current policy and carry out mass deportations.

President Joe Biden called GOP leaders in both chambers on Monday evening to urge them to vote for the bill, which, among other things, would give Biden executive authority to close the southern border if it becomes overwhelmed.

“Mr. President, you caused this problem,” Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky told Biden in a phone call.

McConnell said he has urged Biden to restore Trump-era policies such as completing the border wall and the so-called the Remain in Mexico policy, which required asylum seekers to remain in Mexico while awaiting their cases.

“The president needs to get on board with this and do everything he can because obviously the legislation is not going to get approved this year,” McConnell said.

House Speaker Mike Johnson, a Republican from Louisiana, has already said in a statement that if the bill passes the Senate, it would be dead the moment it appears in the House.

Schumer says GOP needs to register

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, a Democrat from New York, said he wants Republican senators to be recorded voting on the separate bill. Last year, Republicans originally said they would only vote on necessary aid to Ukraine if it was accompanied by a border security bill.

“Do Republicans want to improve the situation at the border or not?” Schumer said. “Maybe they are happy with the way things are.”

Schumer said Republicans were OK with voting for the border security bill “until President Trump told them to turn back.”

Murphy, along with Kyrsten Sinema, an independent from Arizona, and Republican James Lankford of Oklahoma, spent months crafting a bipartisan border security bill that would overhaul U.S. immigration law. Senate Republicans he left bill, ultimately siding with his House colleagues and Trump.

South Dakota Sen. John Thune, South Dakota’s No. 2 Republican, said Democrats were holding only Thursday’s vote to protect vulnerable officials up for re-election in November, such as Sherrod Brown of Ohio and Jon Tester of Montana.

“Where we are now, it has become a political liability and a political vulnerability for Democrats,” Thune said, adding that “all the charades and political theater that Democrats are trying” are aimed at protecting incumbents.

The sweeping Border Security Act would raise the bar for migrants seeking asylum, clarify the White House’s parole powers and end the practice of allowing migrants to live in U.S. communities while awaiting asylum hearings. among others.

The Biden administration has expressed frustration after Senate Republicans voted to kill him agreement on border security, often blaming Trump and Republicans for leaving.

“Between now and November, the American people will know that the only reason the borders are not secure is because of Donald Trump and his Republican MAGA friends,” Biden said in February.

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