President Biden blamed former President Trump on Tuesday for torpedoing a bipartisan border security bill for political reasons.
“All indication are this bill won’t even move forward to the Senate floor. Why? A simple reason: Donald Trump. Because Donald Trump thinks it’s bad for him politically,” Biden said in remarks from the White House.
“He’d rather weaponize this issue than actually solve it,” Biden added, accusing Trump of trying to intimidate Republican lawmakers to oppose the bill.
Senate Republicans are poised to block a procedural motion to begin debate on legislation unveiled Sunday that includes $20 billion for border security. It would give the federal government temporary authority to expel migrants when the average number of daily crossings exceeds a set threshold, end “catch and release,” raise standards for asylum screenings and seek to process claims quicker, among other provisions.
The bill also includes $60 billion in funding for Ukraine in its war against Russia, $14.1 billion for Israel in its fight against Hamas and aid for Indo-Pacific allies, mirroring a proposal the White House made to Congress late last year, shortly after the start of the Israel-Hamas war.
The border security proposal faced immediate pushback from Republicans in both chambers, with House conservatives declaring it “dead on arrival” and indicating they would not support the legislation, despite it being crafted in part by a member of their own party.
Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.) floated crafting an aid bill for Israel only, which Biden threatened to veto. Biden stopped short of saying he would support measures that funded only Ukraine or Israel on their own Tuesday, saying it was imperative to pass all of the aid as a whole.
Trump has warned Republicans against voting for the legislation, saying it would be a “death wish” for the party and would be politically unfavorable for the GOP in an election year. The former president has criticized Sen. James Lankford (R-Okla.) for working on the bill, despite Trump endorsing Lankford in his 2022 reelection bid.
Democrats have for weeks argued Republicans in Congress were rejecting any compromise on the border because it could be a political win for Biden in an election year. Trump has repeatedly hammered Biden on the flow of migrants at the southern border, and polling has shown voters trust Trump more on immigration and the border.
“Every day between now and November, the American people are going to know that the only reason the border is not secure is Donald Trump and his MAGA Republican friends,” Biden said.
Biden noted Tuesday that the bill has the backing of the National Border Patrol Council — the border patrol union that endorsed Trump in 2020 — as well as the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.
“The bottom line is this bipartisan bill is a win for America because it makes important fixes to our immigration system,” Biden said.
Updated at 1:54 p.m. ET