Border Security Bill Text Released; Reactions Mixed

The bill text—four months in the making—was released Sunday afternoon, and within just a few hours, Speaker of the House Mike Johnson (R-LA) had already consigned it to the congressional trash heap. But Senator Lankford and supporters of the bill aren’t giving up.

Monday, February 5th 2024, 5:35 pm



-

It’s looking like an uphill battle for the $118 billion bipartisan national security supplemental bill, the most significant portions of which were negotiated by Oklahoma Senator James Lankford.

The bill text—four months in the making—was released Sunday afternoon, and within just a few hours, Speaker of the House Mike Johnson (R-LA) had already consigned it to the congressional trash heap. But Senator Lankford and supporters of the bill aren’t giving up.

"We have a national security crisis on our border," Sen. Lankford (R) Oklahoma told reporters Monday. "Let's actually work to solve that."

Solving the border crisis -- which Republicans blame wholly on the Biden administration -- has been the sole objective of Senator Lankford and the others he's been negotiating with since October. The group has faced headwinds throughout, as many questioned the feasibility of reaching a bipartisan agreement on an issue as polarizing as immigration and at a time when bipartisan cooperation seems not only rare but even frowned upon by some.

But perseverance and support from Senate leadership ultimately bore fruit.

"We found a compromise on the border," said the Democrats' chief negotiator, Sen. Chris Murphy (D-CT). "that both gives the President new tools to manage the border, tightens the asylum process, but also respects our values as a country."

The National Security supplemental carries a total price tag of $118 billion and includes $60 billion in aid to Ukraine, $14 billion for Israel, $10 billion in humanitarian assistance, and $20 billion for the border.

The border provisions include ending the administration's current policy for handling migrant crossings between ports of entry -- known as 'catch-and-release' by Republicans -- primarily by making changes that disincentivize migrant crossings, speeding up asylum screenings, and increasing the capacity for handling migrants.

The legislation would require asylum cases to be adjudicated within 90 days and impose stricter standards for granting asylum while increasing the number of detention beds to 50,000 and hiring thousands of new border patrol officers and asylum officers. Further, it would mandate the shutdown of all asylum processing between ports of entry if daily crossings reach a weekly average of 5,000.

"If we had this law in place right now," said Lankford Monday, "the border would be closed, and we would say, 'No, it's got to be an orderly process and can't be disorderly,' and everyone would be turned around."

Former President Trump is calling the bill 'horrendous,' saying only a 'radical left Democrat would vote for it." Speaker Mike Johnson says it's "even worse than we expected."

President Biden supports the legislation and is urging Congress to pass it.

Among Lankford's Oklahoma colleagues, only Congressman Josh Brecheen (R-OK2) has commented publicly so far, saying on X, "I cannot support this legislation and Speaker Johnson and Majority Leader Scalise have both said it will not receive a vote in the House."

A procedural vote in the Senate, scheduled for Wednesday, will be telling.

"In the days ahead, there'll be real conversation to see if both sides want to be able to engage on this issue," said Lankford, "or if we're going to actually walk away from it."

logo

Get The Daily Update!

Be among the first to get breaking news, weather, and general news updates from News on 6 delivered right to your inbox!

More Like This

February 5th, 2024

May 20th, 2024

April 8th, 2024

March 18th, 2024

Top Headlines

May 28th, 2024

May 28th, 2024

May 28th, 2024

May 28th, 2024