James Lankford

House Leadership Declares Senate’s Border Bill “Dead on Arrival” Amid Bipartisan Criticism

(The Daily Signal)—The Senate released the text of a $118 billion spending bill Sunday night that includes funding for U.S. border security as well as security-related aid for Ukraine, Israel, and Taiwan. But House leadership calls the Senate bill “dead on arrival” if it reaches the lower chamber.

“I’ve seen enough,” House Speaker Mike Johnson, R-La., wrote on X about three hours after Senate leadership released text of the spending bill.

“This bill is even worse than we expected,” Johnson said, adding that it “won’t come close to ending the border catastrophe the president has created.”

“As the lead Democrat negotiator proclaimed: Under this legislation, ‘the border never closes.’ If this bill reaches the House, it will be dead on arrival,” the House’s top Republican said.

House Majority Leader Steve Scalise, R-La., posted Sunday on X: “The Senate Border Bill will NOT receive a vote in the House.”

“Here’s what the people pushing this ‘deal’ aren’t telling you,” Scalise continued. “It accepts 5,000 illegal immigrants a day and gives automatic work permits to asylum recipients—a magnet for more illegal immigration.”

The Senate’s 370-page bill includes about $20 billion in border-related spending and, as Scalise noted, directs the Department of Homeland Security to close the southern border “during a period of 7 consecutive calendar days, [if] there is an average of 5,000 or more aliens who are encountered each day.”

Over 1.8 million illegal aliens a year still would be permitted to enter the United States under the legislation. The bill also would give the president the authority to “direct the [homeland security secretary] to suspend use of the border emergency authority on an emergency basis.”

Rep. Mark Green, chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, said in a written statement Sunday night that he “will vehemently oppose any agreement that legitimizes or normalizes any level of illegal immigration.”

Rep. Andy Biggs, R-Ariz., called the bill “the worst idea on border ‘security’— EVER” and “a disaster.”

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., are among those touting the bipartisan nature of the bill, which includes $60 billion for Ukraine and $14.1 billion for Israel.

Sen. James Lankford, R-Okla., led the way in negotiating the terms of the bill with Democrats. Lankford has pushed back on criticism that the bill would allow 5,000 illegal aliens into the country a day.

“The emergency authority is not designed to let 5,000 people in, it is designed to close the border and turn 5,000 people around,” Lankford said.

Sen. Chris Murphy of Connecticut, the lead Democrat negotiator, released a video message Sunday night explaining that the bill “gives the president the power to better manage the border.”

“So, what we did is give the president a limited authority to shut down asylum claims in between the land ports of entry,” Murphy said, “so that when the numbers of crossings are really high, we funnel people who want to apply for asylum to those ports of entry where we can do it in a more manageable, more humane way.”

“We’re never going to shut down asylum processing, but we are going to make sure that it’s done in a more expeditious manner,” Murphy said.

The Senate bill also proposes to provide hundreds of thousands of work permits to illegal aliens, expand free services for them, and include bailouts for so-called sanctuary cities and states that shelter illegal aliens from federal authorities.

Some of Lankford’s GOP Senate colleagues have gone so far as to call the bill a “betrayal of the American people,” Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, said. The Senate legislation is “an open-borders bill if I’ve ever seen one,” Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Mo., said.

Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, told Breitbart that he has “questions and serious concerns” about the bill.

Sen. Steve Daines, R-Mont., chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, said he “can’t support a bill that doesn’t secure the border, provides taxpayer-funded lawyers to illegal immigrants, and gives billions to radical open borders groups.”

“I’m a no,” Daines added.

The Senate bill also faces criticism from the political Left for being too restrictive.

“After months of a negotiating process that lacked transparency or the involvement of a single border-state Democrat or member of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, it is no surprise that this border deal misses the mark,” Sen. Alex Padilla, D-Calif., said in a written statement.

Rep. Pramila Jayapal, D-Wash., said the Senate bill includes “poison pill provisions such as a new Title 42-like expulsion authority that will close the border and turn away asylum-seekers without due process.”

The bill needs 60 votes in the Senate to overcome a filibuster by some senators. Even if the legislation manages to pass the Senate, it won’t receive a vote in the House unless Johnson, Scalise, and the rest of Republican leadership there change their position, which appears unlikely.

The Senate was expected to hold a procedural vote Wednesday on the bill.

The House passed a border security bill, HR 2, in May. The Democrat-run Senate has yet to vote on that bill despite repeated calls from House and Senate Republicans for action on it.

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