The White House is playing hardball with House Republicans who refuse to pass a border security bill that they argue is deeply flawed.
In retaliation, the Biden administration is threatening open border chaos if House Republicans don’t capitulate and agree to pass the border deal negotiated in the Senate.
White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre told reporters on Wednesday that because Republicans have not passed the ‘bipartisan’ border security bill that includes funding for Israel and Ukraine, the administration will have no choice but to leave the border open.
“Because congressional Republicans are choosing partisan politics over our national security and refusing to pass the bipartisan national security agreement that includes significant border reforms and funding, over the coming weeks, ICE will be forced to reduce operations because of budget shortfalls,” Jean-Pierre said on Air Force One.
“We have asked Congress for additional funding and resources, and every time Congress has provided less than we asked for, or most recently, completely ignored our supplemental request,” she added.
Following months of discussions, the U.S. Senate on Sunday announced a $118 billion bipartisan border security bill that would also offer aid to Ukraine and Israel. Speaker of the House Mike Johnson (R-LA) has since declared the deal “dead on arrival,” and even Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) has abandoned it.
The bill includes $60.06 billion to support Ukraine in its war with Russia, $14.1 billion in security assistance for Israel, and only $20.23 billion for border security.
An additional $10 billion would go toward humanitarian assistance for populations in Gaza, the West Bank, and Ukraine.
The Calvin Coolidge Project provided an overview on X with key points from the “Bipartisan Border Bill” negotiated by Senator James Lankford (R-OK).
🚨Breaking News: The Bipartisan Border Bill negotiated by Republican Senator James Lankford has officially been released👇
1. $60 billion in military aid to Ukraine
2. $14 billion in military aid to Israel
3. $20 billion for border security pic.twitter.com/rzZsyLVAPT
— The Calvin Coolidge Project (@TheCalvinCooli1) February 5, 2024
The bill drew sharp criticism from Republican lawmakers and from conservative pundits.
President Joe Biden, however, touted the bipartisan deal.
“We’ve reached an agreement on a bipartisan deal that includes the toughest and fairest set of border reforms in decades,” Biden boasted. “And it includes support for Ukraine and Israel and provides humanitarian assistance for the Palestinian people. I urge Congress to pass this bill immediately.”
Department of Homeland Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, who is still facing impeachment over his border response, also touted the legislation.
“The bipartisan agreement in the Senate is tough, fair, and takes meaningful steps to address the challenges our country faces after decades of Congressional inaction,” Mayorkas posted in a ten-post thread.
Congressional Republicans, meanwhile, have argued that President Joe Biden can achieve immigration policy reforms by simply taking action that he already authorized to undertake.
The Biden administration is thus effectively blackmailing House Republicans on the border security bill.
The White House’s threat to reduce border enforcement comes after more than 3.2 million illegal alien encounters were reported at the southern border under the Biden presidency, the most ever recorded.