The Senate is set to vote on the border bill as Democrats try to shift the blame to the Republican Party

Washington – The Senate is expected to vote on Thursday on a bipartisan border security measure that Republicans blocked earlier this year after former President Donald Trump announced his opposition to it.

The bill is likely to fail for a second time, but Democrats will try to use Republican opposition to shift public opinion in their favor as polls show voters have been critical of President Biden's handling of immigration . Border security has been a central issue in the Republican platform leading up to the November election.

“We'll see who is serious about actually wanting to fix the border … and those who prefer to just talk about it,” Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said in a speech Wednesday.

Sen. Brian Schatz, a Democrat from Hawaii, argued that Republicans who vote against the measure “will lose their right to talk about the border and make it a partisan political issue.”

“I'm angry because I got text messages from my colleagues on the Republican side saying, 'Look, you guys have to take the border seriously,'” Schatz said Wednesday during a news conference with a handful of his Democratic colleagues. “Some of the Republicans I respect the most were very forceful against us, and so we listened. We have developed a piece of legislation that I don't like, but that I know is strong enough to get the job done. Still, they abandoned ship. because Donald Trump told them to.”

The Border Bill

Senate Majority Leader Senator Chuck Schumer speaks to reporters at the U.S. Capitol on May 21, 2024.
Senate Majority Leader Senator Chuck Schumer speaks to reporters at the U.S. Capitol on May 21, 2024.

Alex Wong/Getty Images


After months of negotiations, Republicans and Democrats reached a compromise in February, that would have been the first comprehensive overhaul of border security policy in decades. It would have given the president far-reaching powers to, among other things, limit unlawful border crossings and tighten asylum rules.

Republicans had long insisted the measure was necessary for their support for additional aid to Ukraine. But Trump urged his allies to vote against it, and it fell short of the 60 votes needed to advance in the Senate. Congress has since approved more aid to Ukrainewith Republican support, as part of a broader foreign aid package.

On Monday, Mr. Biden spoke to Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, a Republican from Kentucky, and House Speaker Mike Johnson, a Republican from Louisiana, telling them to “stop politics companies and must act quickly to pass this bipartisan border legislation,” according to a White House summary of the talks.

The Republican leadership of the House of Representatives said earlier Monday that the bill “dead on arrival“in the House of Representatives in the unlikely event that it leaves the Senate.

The compromise measure was negotiated by Senator James Lankford, an Oklahoma Republican; Senator Chris Murphy, a Democrat from Connecticut; and Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, an Arizona independent.

Lankford, one of four Republicans who voted to advance the measure in February, said he won't support it this time, calling it a “prop.”

“Let's keep working until we actually solve this,” he told reporters on Wednesday. “Not just bringing up things that we know won't happen.”

Senator Richard Blumenthal, a Democrat from Connecticut, pushed back on criticism that the vote was simply intended to reinforce Democrats' message at the border.

“It is much more than a vote by message. It will deliver tangible specific results on border security,” Blumenthal told reporters on Wednesday.

Later in the day, Blumenthal said in a speech that Republicans declined to support the measure in February because they wanted to campaign on border issues.

“So now for Republican colleagues [to] claiming that politics is the reason we are here, well, their politics, their presumptive presidential candidate saying they shouldn't vote for it because of the political advantage they would have if they continued to hold it as an issue,” he said .

But as Democrats try to shift the blame to Republicans, they are also losing support within their own party. In a statement, Senator Cory Booker of New Jersey said said he won't vote for it because “it contains several provisions that will violate Americans' shared values” and “misses key components that could go much further in solving the serious immigration problems facing our nation.”

Alan He and Kristin Brown contributed reporting.

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