Senate Republicans and Democrats have attempted to negotiate border-related legislation for weeks.
Now, on the verge of a deal, it seems like their attempts have all been for naught.
Trump is pushing his supporters in Congress to kill the bill to gain an upper hand in the election.
Congressional Republicans are seemingly throwing away their best opportunity to pass conservative immigration policy in recent memory in a bet on their own and former President Donald Trump's 2024 campaigns.
A select group of Democrats and Republicans in the Senate have been negotiating on immigration-based legislation for more than a month, and have reportedly come to an agreement. But as of Tuesday afternoon, it doesn't appear their work will ever come to a vote due to increasing Republican opposition.
Over the weekend, Trump publicly spoke out against the legislation, taking credit for its apparent demise, an act he said he wanted to be personally blamed for.
"A lot of the senators are trying to say, respectfully, they're blaming it on me," he said in Las Vegas. "Please blame it on me. Please."
It is worth noting that as of Wednesday morning, there still is no bill. No public text has been released despite months of negotiations, even senators have complained that they are receiving few details from the discussions between Sen. James Lankford, an Oklahoma Republican, and Senate Democrats.
What is known about the bill is that it's unlikely to include a pathway to citizenship or protections for so-called DREAMers, two policy areas that have specifically been part of previous bipartisan immigration discussions. Instead, Democrats would trade conservative immigration policies for additional aid to Ukraine in its war against Russia. Not surprisingly, some Democrats have major issues with that potential trade-off.
"Using a one-time spending package to enact these unrelated permanent policy changes sets a dangerous precedent and risks assistance to our international partners," 11 Senate Democrats said in a statement about the talks. "Any proposal considering permanent changes to our asylum and immigration system needs to include a clear path to legalization for long-standing undocumented immigrants."
Meanwhile, Republicans are apparently pinning their hopes on Trump's reelection campaign and retaking control of the Senate. But unless the GOP does away with the Senate filibuster, it's unclear how they will ever get the kind of conservative immigration changes they are seeking.
While Lankford's colleagues are sympathetic to his plight. Conservative pressure is amping up. Members of the Oklahoma GOP ultimately censured Lankford over the weekend, alleging he was "jeopardizing the security and liberty of the people of Oklahoma and of these United States."
House Speaker Mike Johnson said it's "absurd" to suggest he would kill the talks to help Trump. Johnson said he has discussed the bill "at length" with the former president. Johnson said Biden himself could fix the situation "with a stroke of a pen."
"The first and most important job of the federal government is to protect its citizens and we're not doing that under President Biden," Johnson said in a response to CNN's Manu Raju's question.
Trump's comments welcoming the blame came days after GOP Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas argued in a media appearance that further legislation isn't even necessary, that the Biden Administration should simply re-adopt Trump's policies at the border.
"We don't need a border bill," he said. "We achieved the lowest rate of illegal immigration in 45 years under Donald Trump. What was different, is you had a president that wanted to secure the border."
Cruz's suggestion is in stark opposition to Trump himself from late 2018, who said that Congress needed to pass immigration legislation, and that controlling the flow of immigrants at the border couldn't be done solely via executive decree.
"The only long-term solution to the crisis, and the only way to ensure the endurance of our nation as a sovereign country is for Congress to overcome open borders obstruction," he said.
Instead of passing legislation, congressional Republicans are turning to impeachment
Fed up with the rampant immigration at the US-Mexico border, House Republicans have filed numerous resolutions over the past year alleging Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro committed "high crimes and misdemeanors" by neglecting his duties monitoring the border.
House Republicans moved early Wednesday morning to take the penultimate step toward impeaching Mayorkas, paving the way for a House floor vote as soon as next week. The Homeland Security Committee voted along party lines to approve articles of impeachment that accuse him of failing to enforce the law and breaching the public's trust.
In US history only one Cabinet official, former Secretary of War William Belknap, has been impeached, an event that occurred nearly 150 years ago.
"You are sitting here right now trying to impeach a Secretary of Homeland Security for neglecting his duties literally while he is trying to perform his duties and negotiate legislation," Rep. Dan Goldman, a New York Democrat, said at the start of Tuesday's hearing.
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