Dems plan to revive border bill rejected by Republicans ahead of November election


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Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Senate Democrats are plotting a potential revival of a bipartisan-negotiated border package that was panned by Republicans earlier this year. 

A source familiar with the discussion told Fox News Digital the Democratic leader from New York told his colleagues during a weekly policy luncheon last week that he is strongly considering raising the issue of border legislation once again in the upper chamber.

Schumer’s office did not provide comment to Fox News Digital when asked about the claim.

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Chuck Schumer, border

Senate Majority Leader Schumer is considering bringing back up a border bill opposed by most Republicans. (Getty Images)

“Our bipartisan bill was the closest Congress has been in decades to fixing our southern border – until Donald Trump blew it all up for political gain,” the majority leader told his colleagues last week in floor remarks. 

The package was the result of a months-long discussion between designated negotiators, Sens. Chris Murphy, D-Conn., Kyrsten Sinema, I-Ariz., and James Lankford, R-Okla.

However, many Republicans expressed frustration during the negotiation process due to what they called a lack of transparency. Senators were often left to rely on reports of the packages’ contents and broader ideas, many of which elicited concerns. 

By the time the text of a border bill was released in February, many GOP lawmakers were already against it.

Former President Trump also came out against the bill shortly after the text was made available, pushing Republicans to oppose it. 

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Trump speaks to media

Trump came out against the deal. (Seth Wenig/Pool/AFP via Getty Images)

Many Republicans took issue in particular with the measure’s so-called “border emergency” provision that would effectively shut down the border when illegal crossings hit 5,000 a day for multiple days. The president could also choose to trigger this with the number at 4,000 a day. 

But for Republicans who have been highlighting the border issue for years, many have stated repeatedly that it needs to be considered an emergency and shut down right away, not once a threshold is met. In a recent interview with Fox News Digital, Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wis., reflected on the issues with the negotiated bill. “The nastiest part of that was the 4,000 migrants threshold that gave the president discretion to stop processing asylum claims,” he said. 

“That implies that Congress doesn’t believe the president has discretion right now,” he said. “The president does.”

“And then, even worse, that discretion went away after three years,” Johnson added, referring to the fact that the border provision would expire in three years. 

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Senators James Lankford and Kyrsten SInema

Sens. Kyrsten Sinema and Jmes Lankford were two of the designated negotiators. (Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images)

All hopes for the measure were squashed just days after the text was revealed – it only garnered 50 of the necessary 60 votes to move forward. Forty-nine senators voted against it. Four Republicans voted with Democrats to overcome the procedural hurdle, while six Democrats defected. 

Lankford’s office did not provide comment to Fox News Digital when asked if he would support the bill he helped negotiate again. 

Democrats in the upper chamber have continued to reiterate their support for the stalled bill, especially as the 2024 election map features several incumbent Democrats in difficult match-ups in states where voters consider the border a top issue. 

Schumer’s potential move to re-up the measure would come just months before the pivotal elections. 

“I assume that almost anything done between now and the election will be perceived as a political exercise and not taken seriously by the voters,” predicted Republican strategist John Feehery. “The problem for Democrats is that Republicans will make them vote on the Trump immigration plan which unites the Republicans and divides the Democrats and put vulnerable Democrats in a very tough spot.”

Per fellow GOP strategist David Kochel, Democrats might be looking to revive the bill “because they see the damage the border crisis is doing to Biden and the Democrats, and they need to try and change the narrative to blame Republicans for being obstructionists.”

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Migrants storm the gate at the border in El Paso

The border has emerged as a top issue going into the November election. (James Breeden for New York Post/Mega)

National Republican Senatorial Committee communications director Mike Berg said in a statement: “Joe Biden could secure the border tomorrow by reinstating President Trump’s policies that he unilaterally canceled. The truth is, Biden and Democrats intentionally opened our border and allowed a full-scale invasion of our country. They are only pretending to care about the issue now because it has become a political problem.” 

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., did not provide comment to Fox News Digital. 

“It’s definitely a smart decision to reintroduce the bipartisan border bill,” said Democratic strategist Kaivan Shroff. 

“By putting the bill back into focus, Schumer will once again call the GOP’s bluff on the important issue,” he predicted. 

He added that it further presents “an opportunity to shift some focus back to a domestic policy issue – the border – at a time when the two main stories for months have been about Israel and the Trump trials.”

Eric Schultz, senior adviser to former President Obama, claimed, “There’s no more devastating proof point of Republicans’ phoniness than their rejection of an immigration border bill that their own colleagues negotiated.”

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“They are so obliged to Donald Trump that they’d turn a blind eye to the issue they pretend to care the most about, and turn their backs on each other,” he said, noting a second rejection of the measure would prove Republicans are not operating in “good faith” on the border. 

As for the fate of the Senate bill if it managed to pass the upper chamber, House Speaker Mike Johnson, R-La., would be unlikely to bring it to the floor. A spokesperson for his office said in a statement: “Senator Schumer and Senate Democrats already have a House-backed bill that has bipartisan support which will solve the southern border catastrophe engineered by the Biden administration, but they’re letting it collect dust in the Senate.”



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