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Speaker Johnson Says ‘Bipartisan’ Senate Border Deal ‘Dead On Arrival’ In House

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OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author's opinion.


House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.) and other GOP leaders have said a bipartisan Senate border bill that is expected to be voted on next week will be “dead on arrival” in the lower chamber if it remains as-is, according to a report on Friday.

Just the News reported that “Democrats have reached a border deal with Senate Republicans that is apparently tied to funding for the war in Ukraine in a supplemental foreign aid package,” but that Johnson and other House leaders aren’t keen on several of the details.

“Republicans said the border is a priority and we should craft a bipartisan bill to help control the border. We did that,” wrote Sen. Chris Murphy, D-Conn., Friday on the social media platform X. “We have a deal. This weekend we will release the bill and vote next week. It’s decision time.”

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), meanwhile, said on Thursday that he plans to “file cloture on the motion to proceed to the vehicle on Monday,” which sets up a procedural vote on the bill. He added that the first vote on a national security supplemental would likely occur “no later than Wednesday.”

Schumer also noted that the legislation includes funding for Israel, “millions of incident Gaza citizens” in need of aid, and Taiwan. “And our southern border is in urgent need—in urgent need—of fixing,” he added.

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But Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) cast doubt that votes could be taken that soon.

“Nor should it be passed until we have had adequate time to read the bill, discuss it with constituents, debate it, offer amendments, and vote on those amendments,” Lee wrote in an opinion piece for The Federalist. “There’s no universe in which those things will happen by next week.”

Critics from both sides of the aisle have expressed concerns about the Biden Administration’s handling of the border. They point to the record number of encounters with migrants since 2021 as evidence of mismanagement. In December 2023, there were more than 300,000 encounters with migrants at the southern border, setting a new single-month record.

Leaked details of the potential border deal suggest that it could allow up to 8,500 migrants to enter the U.S. at the border in a 24-hour period or an average of 5,000 per day before triggering a border closure.

House GOP leaders have firmly stated that they consider the agreement to be “dead on arrival” in the Republican-led House. Johnson and conservative members of the House have maintained that President Biden already possesses the necessary authority to address many of the issues at the border through executive orders.

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Some of those executive actions could include simply reinstating several of then-President Donald Trump’s immigration and border security policies, including “Remain in Mexico,” which required migrants claiming asylum to wait in Mexico while their cases are adjudicated in the U.S. — a process which usually takes years, due to a backlog of cases.

“I applaud my Republican colleagues led by Rep. Ashley Hinson for telling President Biden directly: you have the existing authority to end the border catastrophe. It was the Biden administration’s disastrous policies — including 64 executive actions — that opened the border,” Johnson said in a statement posted on X. “House GOP is united in taking the fight to the President and make him secure the border.”

Johnson told Fox News during a Friday appearance that he personally told Biden “directly that he has existing authority to help end the border catastrophe his policies created” and that the “American people deserve nothing less.”

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Several House Republicans who conducted recent visits to the southern border to evaluate the situation have called for the border to be closed, characterizing the conditions as a crisis that has placed an excessive burden on U.S. authorities.

“We want to get the border closed and secured first,” Johnson said following the visit.

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