Senate Republicans mobilize to block border bill: 'This will not pass'

Posted 19 days ago


Senate Republicans are poised to obstruct the much-anticipated bipartisan border package released Sunday by negotiators, which includes heightened asylum restrictions and gives President Biden the authority to suspend the bill on an emergency basis.

By Monday night, the bill appeared to be in flames as Republicans argued in a closed-door leadership meeting that they don't have enough time to look over the text and offer amendments. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N. Y., already teed up a cloture vote on the package for Wednesday. It will need 60 votes, or three-fifths of the upper chamber, to pass. If it fails, it will take another 60 votes to restart consideration.

Sen. Bill Hagerty, R-Tenn., a member of the appropriations committee, told Fox News Digital in an interview Tuesday morning that "this will not pass" and predicted there would be 40 "no" votes in the chamber. So far, 25 senators – more than half of the votes needed to filibuster it – have already vowed they would vote against the cloture motion, including three Democrats.

"In 2023, Secretary Mayorkas is assuring us that there is no crisis, that the border is secure. And suddenly, you come into an election year, they say there's a crisis," Hagerty said. "They put forward this legislation, ask for more authority, more funds, and frankly, more flexibility – and they say if we don't go for it, Republicans are now responsible for the crisis at the southern border. It's preposterous."

Hagerty said "the way forward" if the bill fails is for the Senate to take up the House's H. R.2 – the GOP-led bill that would restore most Trump-era and Title 42 style expulsions – which Schumer has already called a "nonstarter."

"Everyone agrees the border is a mess. For years, years, our Republican colleagues have demanded we fix the border. And all along, they said it should be done through legislation. Only recently did they change that when it looked like we might actually produce legislation," Schumer said on the floor Monday. "Well, we are producing legislation in a bipartisan way. And now, unfortunately, many on the hard right are running, are turning their back on this package."

Lead Republican negotiator, Sen. James Lankford, R-Okla., also indicated he is considering voting against the package even though he supports it, which House Republicans have already vowed to tank.

"It's determining if everybody had enough time to look at this," Lankford told reporters Monday night. "Why would we force a vote on something that would kill it, to be able to force the vote now, versus give it more time and give the opportunity to be able to go through it?"

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., "has read the conference" and may also vote against the cloture, Hagerty said. McConnell and Republican leaders are expected to give a press conference Tuesday afternoon after their policy lunches, where debate on the bill is expected to continue.

Leaving the meeting Monday night, Sen. John Hoeven, R-N. D., told reporters "it's the sense of the room" that Senate Republicans will not vote for cloture to advance the border bill on Wednesday. He added the bill may not be "dead" but wants a full legislative process to offer amendments.... (Read more)