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Senate Democrat ‘optimistic’ border deal will be reached in ‘coming days’

Sen. Chris Coons (D-Del.) said he was optimistic that a border deal would be reached in the coming days, but he placed preemptive blame on House Republicans if the deal ultimately cannot get over the finish line.

“President Biden has been asking for congressional engagement and leadership. I am optimistic we are very close to finalizing in the coming days a package that will make that possible,” Coons said in an interview on CNN’s “State of the Union.”

“And if House Republicans refuse to take it up, to consider it and pass it, then they will own responsibility for another year in which millions of people suffer the journey of coming to our southern border, only to be either turned away or ultimately deported,” Coons added.

Coons’s comments come as congressional leaders seek to reach an agreement each chamber can agree on. Last week, Biden invited Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.) and other congressional party leaders to the White House to meet with national security experts to underscore what he views as the urgency with which Congress must provide aid to Ukraine.

A proposal by the White House late last year lumped border security in with funding for Ukraine, Israel and the Indo-Pacific region, but a bipartisan agreement has yet to be reached on the request by Congress.

With a very narrow majority in the House, Johnson has faced pressure not to yield on hard-right conservative border policies, which would unlikely pass the Senate.

Coons, in the interview, made clear Biden thinks addressing the border is “important for our nation” and emphasized the work the president has been pushing to get legislation to his desk.

“It’s important for our nation, and it’s important politically, that we secure our border. I’ll remind you, President Biden in his first State of the Union to Congress asked for congressional leadership in legislatively addressing our badly broken immigration system.”

“President Biden in his supplemental funding request, now many months ago, asked for $14 billion to hire thousands more Border Patrol agents, Customs and Border agents, to deport more people who are here that have failed to prove that they have a right to asylum here. President Biden has been asking for congressional engagement and leadership,” he added.

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