WASHINGTON — In a special closed-door Republican meeting Wednesday, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky. resulting contract for tighten immigration lawsCiting opposition to the GOP’s provisions, he told senators that linking the two measures could collapse Ukrainian aid.
It represents a marked shift for top Senate Republicans, who have pushed hard for a bipartisan deal to pass border legislation and a foreign aid bill together through the Democratic-led Senate and Republican-led House.
“When we started this, the border united us and Ukraine divided us,” McConnell told fellow Republicans, according to a source familiar with his remarks. “The policy has changed in this regard.”
The change comes as Donald Trump pushes GOP members of Congress to kill the deal. He is being nominated for the presidency by the Republican Party and hard-right Senate Republicans have been increasingly emphatic in their criticism of McConnell.
Trump’s desire to create border chaos as a political weapon against President Joe Biden in his general election campaign is a factor in ongoing congressional negotiations, with McConnell telling Republicans: “We don’t want to do anything to undermine that.”
“We’re in a tough spot,” McConnell said, according to the source.
A second source with knowledge of the meeting confirmed that McConnell told senators that Trump’s stance could make it harder for Republicans to support an immigration deal.
A person familiar with Senate Republican discussions says a significant number of GOP members are not interested in making a deal when it comes to immigration, prompting questions about whether it’s worth continuing to be associated with any border deal. Funding of Ukraine. Senate leadership is looking for concrete evidence of interest in the border deal and is considering moving forward with separating the two issues, the person said.
But the separation of events may hasten the death of both. The demand to tie Ukraine aid to immigration restrictions came from House Republican leaders, who have been wary of passing Ukraine aid for months, with or without a border security package. While the Senate was able to muster the votes to pass the aid bill for Ukraine and Israel, passage in the GOP-led House is unlikely.
McConnell even quoted Trump during his comments to Republicans, according to Sen. Kevin Cramer, RND.
“He also exposed the predicament we were in,” Kramer said of McConnell. “He never proposed or took a position — I think we all know his position — but rather described a historical challenge. And he did a good job of quoting Donald Trump in 2018, you know, we’ve never seen a Democrat do this. we will not get him to vote for business”.
The meeting took place on the same day that a group of Senate conservatives held a press conference and burned them down. an emerging bipartisan agreement to enforce stricter asylum and parole lawscomplained that it did not go far enough and took aim at McConnell for supporting negotiations.
“The draft law is not designed to solve this problem. … This bill has a 0.000% chance of passing the House. It’s not going to pass,” Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, told reporters. “This bill represents a war by Senate Republicans against the House Republican leadership.”
Cruz recalled that he spoke at a Senate GOP meeting on Tuesday and told senators the legislation would give Democrats “political cover” to say they are discussing the border situation. “Why are you voting with every Democrat and 10 or 12 Republicans who have no chance of passing the House?” he said.
He walked into McConnell. “Chuck Schumer’s enemies in Congress are conservatives in the Senate and the House Republican leadership,” Cruz said. “And unfortunately, Mitch McConnell’s enemies are conservatives in the Senate and House Republican leadership.”
Cruz was joined by Sens. Ron Johnson, R-Wis., Rick Scott, R-Fla., Mike Lee, R-Utah, and others, who complained they had yet to see the legislation and called for plenty of time. review the text. The deal has not been finalized as the authors are examining its terms to verify funding levels.
“The problem is with our leader,” Johnson said. “Leader McConnell is really the stage manager of these negotiations.”
Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., the author of previous immigration laws that were more liberal than the expected deal, also said it would be bad policy to make an immigration pact with Democrats.
A supporter of the resulting deal, Sen. Thom Tillis, R-N.C., said he believes at least half of the 49 GOP senators should support the immigration measure.
“We need at least 25 votes for that, or it’s a waste of time in my opinion,” Tillis said, adding that there was “a way” to get there but that he wasn’t sure.