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Border, Foreign Aid Package Meets...

Border, Foreign Aid Package Meets Demise in U.S. Senate

By: Frank Corder - February 6, 2024

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., joined from left by Sen. Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va., Sen. Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, and Minority Whip John Thune, R-S.D., speaks to reporters as the Senate deal on border enforcement measures and Ukraine aid is rapidly collapsing, at the Capitol in Washington, Tuesday, Feb. 6, 2024. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

President Biden said Republican lawmakers should “show some spine and do what they know to be right.”

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R) emerged on Tuesday, confirming to Capitol Hill reporters that the border and foreign aid legislation being negotiated by Senator James Lankford (R) “will not become law.”

Rumors began to swirl late Monday that the spending deal was on its last leg when Andrew Desiderio posted on X that Mississippi Senator Roger Wicker, the top Republican on the Senate Armed Services Committee, came out of the GOP conference meeting and said the proposal was “dead.”

On Tuesday, McConnell said Republican House Speaker Mike Johnson’s opposition, along with concerns within the both the House and Senate GOP conferences are why.

“We had a very robust discussion about whether or not this product could ever become law, and it’s been made pretty clear to us by the Speaker that it will not become law,” McConnell said of the Senate Republican meeting on the legislation.

McConnell thanked Lankford for doing “a remarkable job of negotiating with the other side.”

The $118 billion spending package was meant to address the crisis at the U.S.-Mexico border while providing additional funding to support Ukraine, Israel and Taiwan.

On the issue of the border, the legislation sought to impose stricter screening for those entering the U.S., end the “catch and release” program that allows migrants to be transported into the U.S. interior, and expedite the adjudication process.

However, Speaker Johnson said it was “dead on arrival” in the House, adding that it was worse than he had anticipated. There were critics on both sides, with Democrats saying the legislation went too far and Republicans complaining that it did not go far enough.

Johnson is now seeking a standalone aid package for Israel.

Mississippi U.S. Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith (R) was one of the upwards of 20 Senators who came out against the package.

Hyde-Smith issued a statement on Tuesday as negotiations broke down in the chamber, saying, “I’ve said before that securing the border is a top priority for me and that I’m willing to work on legislation to fix our long-standing border security and immigration policies. However, I cannot support this border policy bill, which is not the answer to begin correcting all the problems caused by the administration’s open border policies. Given their record, I have very little confidence that President Biden or Secretary Mayorkas would actually enforce it.”

President Joe Biden spoke out before McConnell’s declaration of the package being dead, accusing GOP lawmakers of bowing to former President Donald Trump for political purposes.

“All indications are this bill won’t even move forward to the Senate floor. Why? The simple reason: Donald Trump,” Biden said in a news conference. “Because Donald Trump thinks it’s bad for him politically.”

Biden said Republican lawmakers should “show some spine and do what they know to be right.”

McConnell now wants the Senate to look to a national security package while providing foreign aid to Ukraine, Israel and Taiwan.

About the Author(s)
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Frank Corder

Frank Corder is a native of Pascagoula. For nearly two decades, he has reported and offered analysis on government, public policy, business and matters of faith. Frank’s interviews, articles, and columns have been shared throughout Mississippi as well as in national publications. He is a frequent guest on radio and television, providing insight and commentary on the inner workings of the Magnolia State. Frank has served his community in both elected and appointed public office, hosted his own local radio and television programs, and managed private businesses all while being an engaged husband and father. Email Frank: