Demise of Bipartisan Border Bill: Three Key House Roadblocks

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After months of anticipation, Senate negotiators finally released their border security bill text on Sunday. Not everyone was happy with the details.

There is already a large group of bill opponents in Congress, specifically in the House of Representatives. This puts the likelihood of the bill reaching President Joe Biden in danger. This border security bill is dead on arrival due to three main reasons.

House Republicans are against the bill

House Speaker Mike Johnson, R-LA, and other top House GOP Officials blasted the reported provisions of the legislation before the bill’s details were released. Now that the text is public, their stance has not changed.

House Majority leader Steve Scalise, R-LA, opened the discussion from the House GOP leadership about the details of this text by pledging not to vote it on the floor.

“Let me clarify: the Senate Border Bill WILL NOT be voted on in the House. What the people who are pushing this ‘deal,’ don’t tell you is that it accepts 5,000 immigrants illegally a day. It also gives automatic work permits for asylum seekers — a magnet to attract more illegal immigration,” Scalise said in a Sunday night post on X.

Johnson said that he “had seen enough” and the bill was “dead-on-arrival” if ever it reached the House of Representatives.

“I’ve had enough.” This bill is worse than expected and will not end the border crisis the President created. Johnson, writing on X, said that the lead Democrat negotiator declared: “Under this legislation, the border will never close.” If this bill reaches the House, it’ll be dead at arrival.

In the hours before the bill’s release, the House Speaker had expressed his dissatisfaction with the bill. He explained on NBC News Meet the Press that the House GOP had been shut out of the negotiations and he hadn’t been briefed about the details during the ongoing talks in the upper chamber.

Senate GOP is not united behind the bill.

For years, the GOP has been vocal in its desire to pass border legislation. However, with the deal Sens. James Lankford, Kyrsten Sinema (I-AZ), Chris Murphy (D-CT), and others have already voiced their opposition to the proposal.

In an opinion piece published by The Hill, Sen. Rick Scott of Florida accused Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky (R) of undermining the Republican Party with the compromise. He said that the GOP does not trust Biden’s ability to enforce border laws and that McConnell was giving Biden an item for his campaign without actually enhancing border protection.

“Securing our border requires that Biden enforce the law. Scott wrote that nothing we’ve seen in the last three years indicates he’ll do this. McConnell’s plan to give Biden, Democrats, and the media a victory that they could use to campaign and claim they were working to resolve the border crisis was a joke.

Since the text was released, several Republican Senators, including Sens. Josh Hawley, R-MO, and Mike Lee, R-UT. Lee called the bill a ‘betrayal of American people’ in a harsh rebuke to X Sunday night.

Biden’s campaign allies are dissatisfied

The White House supports the bill, but some members of Biden’s re-election campaign as well as those on the left of the Democratic Party are concerned.

In an interview published on Sunday, Rep. Veronica Escobar told Politico that she “was not happy” with Biden’s comments about the border before the release of the text. She said that it wouldn’t affect her support for Biden, but she also stated there were red lines she would oppose, such as rapid expulsion.

Escobar, announcing her border bill proposal, said: “It’s very difficult for me to support this.”

The Senate is expected to vote on the bill for the first time on Wednesday. The bill also includes aid for Ukraine, Israel, and Taiwan. Johnson has presented a separate Israel Aid Bill, which does not include border security, nor aid to other countries. The House of Representatives can consider this bill.