Republicans would rather campaign on the border crisis than solve it

Republicans would rather campaign on the border crisis than solve it

The Senate has essentially one job this week: Get a bipartisan immigration/Ukraine aid supplemental bill to the floor. The lead Democratic negotiator is bullish on progress, but Republicans are throwing up roadblock after roadblock, keeping one of their most critical election issues alive for November.

Sen. Chris Murphy of Connecticut told reporters Tuesday, “Our work is largely done. The conversation has really moved over to Appropriations. So, there’s no reason why we couldn’t begin consideration this week.”

There’s every reason on the other side of the aisle. Take MAGA Sen. Mike Lee of Utah, for example.

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Never mind that lawmakers have been talking about immigration reform for two decades. Now they don’t have enough time? Now the Senate needs to spend another month reviewing it and coming up with poison pill amendments? A reminder as well about the “last time” the Judiciary Committee came up with a big immigration bill: House Republicans killed it and pointed the finger at President Barack Obama for its murder. That was another election year, 2014, in which the GOP wanted to ride a wave of fear of immigrants to the ballot box.

That’s the perennial story of immigration reform in Congress. There’s two decades’ worth of supposed bipartisan history on immigration that’s been killed by the Republicans. This is too salient a political issue for them. They don’t want to secure the border with new funding and new policy directives. They want to keep the so-called border crisis in the headlines, just like they’ve done since 2001.

Thus, Republicans keep throwing up roadblocks to this effort. There’s Lee and his “regular order” argument above. Now that they’re getting close, Republicans have manufactured another block: opposition to Palestinian aid that Democrats want to include in the other part of the bill, the supplemental funding for Ukraine, Israel, and Taiwan.

Senate Republicans are also arguing that the House GOP wouldn’t pass it anyway. “I’m positive the Senate can do its job and I’m positive the House will do its job,” Sen. John Cornyn of Texas told Punchbowl News. “I’m not sure those are the same thing.”

As far as Republicans are concerned, it is the same job: keeping the issue alive for Donald Trump. He rules their world, after all.

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