Legislation that aims to curtail problems at the U.S.-Mexico border has become increasingly subject to political positioning, which even powerful Republican lawmakers admit their side has privileged over practical solutions.
Speaker of the House Mike Johnson — a stone wall in the face of a new Senate proposal for significant border policy changes — denies he is taking marching orders on border issues from former President Donald Trump. Yet the Speaker is nevertheless arriving at conclusions that match Trump’s desires.
Trump has targeted the border crisis as an issue that makes incumbent Joe Biden vulnerable in November, and a fix to the crisis before the election would give Biden political “cover” — something House Republicans seem determined not to do.
The disingenuous nature of the Republican intransigence is made overt by the rejection of the Senate’s legislation even before its details are known, points out Republican Senator James Lankford (R-OK), who gives the GOP game away by asking:
“The key aspect of this again is are we as Republicans going to have press conferences and complain the border is bad and then intentionally leave it open?”
Lankford: The key aspect of this again is are we as Republicans going to have press conferences and complain the border is bad and then intentionally leave it open? pic.twitter.com/Yk48ePjziO— Acyn (@Acyn) February 5, 2024
Intentionally leaving the border open — while repeatedly saying Biden must close the border — is the modus operandi of the Trump campaign, as Lankford has also asserted.
Lankford lists a number of aspects that the GOP had long sought and that are included in the Senate legislation — increasing detention beds, deportation flights, border lockdowns — but now, he says, “no one wants to be able to fix it.”
The bill, Lankford says, “dramatically changes asylum, dramatically changes deportation…it builds more wall.”
Kilmeade: Senator Lee says he needs 3 weeks to read it— Acyn (@Acyn) February 5, 2024
Lankford: It's interesting that he said he is already opposed to it, he needs three weeks to be able to read it but he’s already opposed to it. pic.twitter.com/7pWKo6PIR9
Johnson and various MAGA House members had already vowed to smother any bipartisan Senate proposal to address the border crisis before it was released, with the Speaker — admitting he didn’t know the proposal’s details — saying the proposal was DOA in the House and would not be put on the floor for a vote.