For months now, Republicans in the House of Representatives have been holding major legislation hostage and threatening a full-blown government shutdown over their demands for hardline, extreme immigration reforms. Now, as congressional leadership works to finalize a Biden-endorsed immigration reform package, Trump is trashing the deal publicly, and privately referring to anyone in his party who supports it as “stupid.”
Trump has recently told confidants in influential conservative media and political circles that “stupid” Republicans, particularly “RINOs” in the Senate, seem eager to hand Biden a win as he’s sunk in 2024 polls, and that GOP lawmakers shouldn’t be doing Biden any favors right now, a source familiar with the matter and another person briefed on it tell Rolling Stone. In essence, Republicans are concerned that approving a border deal could potentially benefit Biden in an election year when he’s expected to face off against an ascendant Trump.
Late Wednesday night, Trump wrote on Truth Social that Republicans should reject a border deal “unless we get EVERYTHING needed to shut down the INVASION of Millions & Millions of people, many from parts unknown, into our once great, but soon to be great again, Country!”
Some Republican politicians are echoing Trump’s sentiment that the party shouldn’t be doing anything to benefit Biden, all but openly saying that a bipartisan deal for harsher asylum and border restrictions is a bad idea because it would deliver a vulnerable president a political victory.
Earlier this month, Rep. Troy Nehls (R-Texas) told CNN that he’s “not willing to do too damn much right now to help a Democrat and to help Joe Biden’s approval rating. …I will not help the Democrats try to improve this man’s dismal approval ratings. I’m not going to do it. Why would I?” Nehls also shouted “Trump 2024, baby!” when asked last month what he hoped to gain from impeaching President Joe Biden, in a video obtained by Rolling Stone last month.
The House is expected to vote Thursday on another continuing resolution (CR) that will extend existing government funding agreements and avoid a partial shutdown of the federal government. Like past attempts to keep the government funded, the legislation has been stalled by House Republicans’ demands for an immigration crackdown and opposition to aid for Ukraine. As the lower chamber squabbles over their demands, GOP senators are warning their colleagues in the House that they should not expect a better border deal in the future — even if Trump wins in November.
According to a report from NBC News, Senate Minority Whip John Thune (R-S.D.) has warned that Republicans are unlikely to win the necessary seats to secure a 60-vote majority in the Senate and unilaterally approve a partisan immigration package. “The Democrats will not give us anything close to this if we have to get 60 votes in the United States Senate in a Republican majority,” Thune said. “We have a unique opportunity here. And the timing is right to do this.”
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) echoed the sentiment while speaking to reporters earlier this week. “One of the things that I keep reminding my members is if we had a 100-percent Republican government — president, House, Senate — we probably would not be able to get a single Democratic vote to pass what Sen. Lankford and the administration are trying to get together … So this is a unique opportunity to accomplish something in divided government,” McConnell said.
Even as senators attempt to talk some sense into House Republicans, the most extreme wing of the GOP in the lower chamber is threatening to rake the House through another round of leadership drama should Speaker Mike Johnson agree to any sort of deal that doesn’t align with their priorities, even one to keep the government funded.
On Thursday, Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) told Axios that she would personally “introduce the motion to vacate” against Johnson, should he approve a funding CR that includes military aid to Ukraine. According to The New York Times, Johnson has told Biden that he should expect no compromise on funding for military aid to Ukraine from the House unless Democrats agreed to a much more extreme crackdown on immigration. Already in a precarious position within his caucus, Johnson is also facing direct pressure from Trump to reject the Senate border deal outright.
In a Wednesday appearance on Fox News, host Laura Ingraham ambushed Johnson, forcing him to concede that he has been regularly consulting with Trump on the matter. “The president actually just got off the phone with me right before the show, and he said he has spoken to you about this deal … and he urged you to be against it,” Ingraham said, asking for Johnson’s response.
“[Trump] and I have been talking about this pretty frequently,” Johnson said. “We don’t have the text of whatever the Senate has cooked up yet, and so we have to reserve judgment … It doesn’t sound good at the outset.”
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