‘We have no real chance to make a law,’ Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell told reporters.
Senate Republicans are on track to halt a bipartisan border deal ahead of a key vote.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) announced the inevitable on Feb. 6: The bipartisan border and immigration agreement is dead in the Senate.
“We have no real chance to make a law,” he told reporters following the weekly caucus luncheons.
A vote to begin debate on the bill—a $118 billion supplemental bill that also includes a wide array of national security expenses, including funding for Israel, Ukraine, and Taiwan—is scheduled for Feb. 7. A minimum of 60 senators are needed for the vote to succeed.
“America’s sovereignty is being tested here at home, and our credibility is being tested by emboldened adversaries around the world,” he said.
“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.”
The supplemental includes $60 billion allocated to Ukraine, $14.1 billion to Israel, and $20 billion to implement border security measures.
Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) expressed what he said is “profound disappointment.”
“We have a problem facing our nation. Republicans challenged us to address it,” he told reporters.
“We worked in good faith to find a solution. At the last minute, Donald Trump pulled the rug out from all of us.
But if average encounters reach 5,000 a day over a given week, the DHS secretary is required to shut down the border. The deal also limits the president’s parole authority, a power that gives the president the ability to allow more illegal immigrants into the country.
The deal raises the legal bar for the initial screening of asylum claims. It would also expedite the asylum processing time to six months from many years.
The package also doesn’t include a restoration of former President Donald Trump’s Remain in Mexico policy, which many Republicans have told The Epoch Times is a must-have.
President Trump, the frontrunner in the GOP presidential primary, has come out against the supplemental.
“This is one of the most necessary and important pieces of legislation Congress has put forward in years to ensure America’s future prosperity and security,” said Mr. Schumer.
On Feb. 6, Mr. Schumer expressed opposition to individually dealing with the issues in the supplemental.
“I have always said that we must move forward on a bipartisan basis to pass critical assistance for Israel and to prevent Putin from overrunning Ukraine, deliver humanitarian aid to innocent Palestinians in Gaza, build up our military, and strengthen our allies in the Indo-Pacific, and of course securing our border,” he said.
“I’ve made clear to Speaker Johnson the only way to get all these things done is through bipartisanship.”
Nonetheless, in addition to House Republicans including House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.), Senate Republicans are overall opposed to the measure.
“I think the proposal is dead,” Sen. Roger Wicker (R-Miss.) told reporters after leaving the GOP meeting.
Even Mr. Lankford suggested he might vote no in the procedural vote if his colleagues weren’t ready.
Mr. Daines called on President Joe Biden, who supports the agreement, to use his existing executive authority to secure the border.
Sen. John Boozman (R-Ark.) told The Epoch Times that he is against the bill given the couple of days to read it ahead of the procedural vote.
Nonetheless, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) told reporters that if folks have objections to the bill they should propose fixes. Mr. Graham said he has not decided where he will side during the cloture vote.