The $118 billion bipartisan border security bill officially fell apart in the Senate Wednesday after conservative Republicans trashed the compromise package negotiated with the guidance of party leaders.
Republicans quickly rejected Majority Leader Chuck Schumer’s vote to move the $118 bill border security bill forward 49 to 50 following days of outrage by the GOP. They said the bill didn’t go far enough to secure the border.
Schumer, D-N.Y., said the vote would ‘show who is serious about securing the border – and who is not.’
With that failure on the floor to get 60 votes to advance, attention immediately turned to a new effort to move Ukraine and Israel aid without the border language – with numerous Republicans saying they would go along with the idea.
Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) blasted the latest effort even as he predicted it might achieve the 60 votes needed to advance. He is among several conservatives questioning Minority Leader Mitch McConnell’s leadership over his handling of the deal. He told reporters the last few months have been ‘abysmally embarrassing.’
‘I support the Ukraine bill but I’m not going to give up on the border security provisions either,’ said Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas), who had opposed the overall package that went down Wednesday.
He said negotiations were commencing on a process that would allow senators to offer amendments to modify it. Negotiations over amendments that Republicans were demanding ground floor action to a halt Wednesday evening.
‘I’m not giving up on securing the border,’ said Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, suggesting he, too, wanted to add border amendments to the package even after his colleagues balked at the original border provisions in the deal.
Republican Senator John Kennedy of Louisiana said: ‘The border bill is as dead as Woodrow Wilson.’
Just four Republicans backed the deal during the vote. ‘Three weeks ago, everyone wanted to solve the border crisis,’ said Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (I-Ariz.). ‘Yesterday, nobody did.’
‘It’s just maddening,’ Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) told DailyMail.com of the defeat of the package.
But he said he feels ‘really good’ about the prospects of the deal moving without most of the border provisions.
He said the idea was to take out the national security package but then put back language dealing with sanctions authority for fentanyl trafficking and surging new fentanyl interdiction technology fo the border.
‘For a lot of us, the part of the border thing we most wanted to do was all the fentanyl piece,’ he said. ‘You put that in the national security package, that’s a powerful reason to vote yes for all of us,’ he said.
It was just the latest demonstration of chaos in Congress, after House leaders failed to muster enough votes to pass a separate $17 billion package to provide U.S. aid to Israel Tuesday.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) lambasted Republicans for backing away from a border compromise that also includes aid for Ukraine and Israel. He plans to call up a package stripped of the controversial border provisions if a procedural motion fails as expected
The deal’s destruction came despite Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and Schumer both backing the proposal, which President Joe Biden also supported.
But former President Donald Trump had been lobbying against it, calling it a ‘death wish’ for the Republican Party.
Now senators will get the chance to vote on a thinner $95 billion package stripped of border language entirely, under a maneuver by Schumer.
The idea was picking up some Republican support.
‘Anyone that thinks there will not be a consequence, a negative consequence in history over this vote needs to really study up on history. Which is why I’m going to try to do my part to not be on that dark page of history,’ said Sen. Thom Tillis (R-N.C.), stressing the importance of the Ukraine package.
‘I’d like to have the border bill on it. But if we can’t pass a border bill, then we still need to do something with Ukraine, Israel and Taiwan,’ said Sen. Markwayne Mullin (R-Okla.).
Schumer’s gambit comes after President Joe Biden ripped congressional Republicans for lacking ‘spine’ after they helped doom a bipartisan compromise that would have included $20 billion in new border enforcement funds.
Democrats blame former President Donald Trump, who inveighed against the deal, for pulling the strings and wrecking the chance of a compromise in an election year.
‘When President Trump came along and said he didn’t want to solve the border problem, that he wanted it as a campaign issue, [House] Speaker Johnson obediently changed his tune, fumed Schumer.
He repeatedly connected the GOP’s opposition to Russian President Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine, which is approaching its two-year anniversary.
‘Last night, members of the other side of the aisle met to decide whether they were going to side with the American people or obey the wishes of former President Trump and his friend Vladimir Putin,’ said Schumer.
‘Tomorrow, the American people will find out whether Senators seek border security and oppose Russian expansionism, or whether they stand with former President Trump in support of chaos and Vladimir Putin,’ he added in remarks on the Senate floor.
After the vote to take up the package presumably fails to get 60 votes, Schumer plans to take out the border provisions, which Republicans had demanded in principle while balking at the details, and instead bring up ’emergency’ supplemental appropriations to provide $60 billion to Ukraine, boost support for Israel, and provide additional funds for Taiwan along with reconstruction aid for Gaza.
The U.S. has had to cut military aid to Ukraine after its budget authority ran dry. The two-year anniversary of Russia’s invasion is approaching
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) said he would support a move to a clean bill. He was hammered by conservative MAGA-aligned members of his conference over helping set up the border compromise
That will give him the chance to present Republicans with a second procedural motion – this time without the border language that was intended to win over Republicans. One provision allows the administration to shut the border when daily border crossings hit 5,000.
‘Schumer told members of his caucus and the White House last week that if the Republicans scuttled the bipartisan border and supplemental agreement, he had prepared a plan to use the motion to reconsider to force Republicans to vote on the supplemental without border [reforms],’ a Senate Democratic aide told the Hill.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said he would support a ‘clean’ package on Ukraine aide. Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas), who was among those trashing the border package, said he would as well.
Such a package would likely be doomed in the Republican-run House, which on Tuesday failed to impeach Homeland Security Sec. Alejandro Mayorkas and failed to pass a package considering only of aid for Israel.
The Senate votes come after Senate conservatives unloaded on the compromise, with some even calling for a leadership change due to McConnell’s role helping push it forward.
Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, who opposed McConnell when he was reelected to his post in 2022, said Tuesday it was time for him to go. ‘I think a Republican leader should actually lead this conference and should advance the priorities of Republicans,’ he said.
McConnell has been a regular target of Trump’s. The two men haven’t spoken since Jan. 6th, even as Trump moves closer and closer to securing his party’s nomination.