HomePoliticsThe Senate will take up a standalone border bill this week

The Senate will take up a standalone border bill this week

The Senate is expected to vote on a standalone border policy package this week, reviving a bipartisan compromise that collapsed in the House earlier this year.

The move to take up the legislation, which is not expected to pass, comes as president Joe Biden is preparing for borderline executive actions that will almost certainly draw progressive ire. In a letter to senators Sunday evening, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said he does not expect all Democrats to support the bill, which was originally negotiated by Sens. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), Kyrsten Sinema (I -Ariz.) and James Lankford (R-Okla.) in an effort to gain more Republican support for a broader foreign aid deal.

There are complex political calculations at work. The vote will force Democrats to make public a critical issue ahead of the November election, with Republicans pressing Biden over his failure to secure the southern border. But some Democrats argue that Biden could face a backlash if his executive actions rely too heavily on cracking down on the border without including more positive tradeoffs for immigrants.

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“We are hopeful that this bipartisan proposal will bring serious Republicans back to the table to advance this bipartisan solution for our border,” Schumer wrote in the letter.

“I’ll be honest: I don’t expect all Democrats to support this legislation,” he said. “Many of our colleagues do not support some of the provisions in this legislation, and I do not expect all Republicans to agree to every provision. But that is often the way bipartisan legislation must take shape when it comes to an issue as complex and politically charged as our nation’s immigration laws.”

For months, Democrats have criticized Republicans for not supporting the bipartisan border compromise, accusing the GOP of deliberately sabotaging any effort to pass a bipartisan border policy to intensify attacks on Biden before Election Day.

“In January, the former president urged Republicans in Congress to kill the bipartisan bill, proudly telling the world to ‘blame it on me,’” Schumer wrote. “The American people do not have the luxury of playing partisan blame games. They want bipartisan action to secure our border.”

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Despite Lankford’s efforts to negotiate the package months ago, the Oklahoma Republican is opposing the decision to hold another vote, arguing that the Senate should move forward and find a solution that can be passed by both chambers accepted. That could mean holding separate votes on parts of the existing package, or crafting an entirely new deal, he said.

“What they’re talking about next week, it’s not serious,” Lankford said last week, predicting Schumer could lose about a dozen Democratic votes. “No one is really trying to solve it right now. And that is my frustration.”

Ursula Perano contributed to this report.

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