Who’s to blame for the failure of the border bill currently floundering in the Senate? Some say it’s the hard-liners in the GOP-controlled House. One Democrat, Representative Dan Goldman of New York, says former President Trump alone derailed the legislation. Certainly, neither helped the chances of passage. However, this border security/foreign war funding package seems to have simply fallen victim to a truth as old as society itself: There’s just no pleasing everyone. And nothing demonstrates that quite like the latest source of opposition to the bill – House Democrats.
Never Mind Ukraine – It Fails as a Border Bill
The Donald spoke out against it. Speaker of the House Mike Johnson (R-LA) declared it dead on arrival. Many Senate Republicans oppose it vehemently. Despite all this, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and his lead negotiator, Senator James Lankford (R-OK), aren’t quite ready to give up on the border bill tied to foreign aid for Ukraine’s fight against Russia. But now they, Senate Democrats, and President Biden face a new and potentially even more frustrating threat to their deal.
Many Republicans feel the arrangement would go far too easy on illegals. After all, how else are border officials supposed to make sure all asylum applications are processed within six months – a process that often takes years – unless it’s to simply wave them on, paying little more than lip service to the actual review portion? But now some House Democrats argue that it is, in fact, far too tough on immigrants.
Mostly members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus and the Progressive Caucus, these representatives are furious that the legislation presently being worked out doesn’t include a path to citizenship for undocumented people already in the country.
“Everything that I’ve heard that’s in this bill is going to set immigration reform – real comprehensive immigration reform – back 10 or 15 years,” complained Rep. Nanette Barragán (D-CA), the head of the Hispanic Caucus. “It was really a hostage-taking, and saying, ‘OK, what more do you want?’ And it was mostly concessions on things that there’s evidence is not going to fix the problem,” she continued. At least, on that last point, she and her allies seem to be in agreement with House Republicans!
Everything to Everyone and Nothing to Anyone
President Biden and the senators behind this deal seem desperately to want more money to send off to Ukraine. And while they finally admit there is a very serious problem at the border, they also know the only way they get a Ukraine funding package is to give Republicans a border bill. The problem is, this isn’t what conservatives want. Republicans want a return to Trump’s Remain in Mexico policy, more border wall construction, and for fewer people in general to be able to cross illegally. Certainly, Republicans want the folks who do make it over the border illegally to be sent packing right back home. But progressive Democrats would never approve of such a package. And, of course, most Republicans – especially those of Freedom Caucus fame – won’t sign off on granting citizenship to millions of illegals already in the US. With the Democrats holding such a slim majority in the Senate and the GOP doing the same in the House, there’s no passing a border bill that doesn’t at least appease both extremes, and with such polar opposite views on the matter, it seems no deal can please both.
Now throw in the $60 billion or more to be sent off to Ukraine, which is far too much money for anyone even remotely considered fiscally conservative, and it’s no wonder this package that was hoped to be everything for everyone has, so far, turned out to be nothing for anyone. Even if a bill takes form from these discussions and somehow clears the Senate, it would now have not one but both sides of the aisle fighting against it in the House.