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Biden urges Speaker Johnson to ‘pay attention’ to Senate on border bill

President Biden on Monday urged Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.) to “pay attention to what the Senate is doing” when it comes to a border security bill unveiled by a bipartisan group of lawmakers in the upper chamber.

“My message to Speaker Johnson is pay attention to what the Senate is doing. We got a bipartisan deal, so you’re gonna see the details of it this week, it’s going to be introduced on Wednesday,” Biden told reporters during a stop at a small business in Las Vegas.

Johnson has declared the bill “dead on arrival” in the House, even if it clears the Senate, instead wanting to separate elements of the bill that also includes military aid for Israel.

“We don’t have enough agents. We don’t have enough folks. We don’t have enough judges … We need help. Why won’t they give me the help?” Biden added.

Asked how he expected the legislation to get through the Senate, Biden said, “With 60 votes, and you’re gonna watch,” but opposition to the bill from both Democrats and Republicans makes a path to passage difficult to predict.

Senators from both parties Sunday night unveiled a national security bill that included $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.

Biden praised the border legislation as a strong compromise and urged Congress to send it to his desk.

But within hours of the bill’s release, Johnson said the legislation was “even worse than we expected” and declared it “dead on arrival” in the House.

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. Former President 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.

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