Mike Johnson says failed border deal ‘dead on arrival’ in the House

House Republicans dismissed Democratic plans to bring a failed border deal up for a vote in the Senate this week as an attempt to provide political “cover” to Democrats running in swing states this fall.

In a Monday statement, Speaker Mike Johnson (R-LA) announced the border bill, should it pass the Senate, is “dead on arrival” in the House and called on Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) to bring up Republicans’ comprehensive border bill, H.R. 2, instead.

“For more than three years now, Congressional Democrats have stood by while the Biden Administration has opened our borders to criminal drug cartels, terrorists, and untold millions of illegal immigrants,” said Johnson, joined by House Majority Whip Tom Emmer (R-MN) and Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-NY), chairwoman of the House Republican Conference.

“Now, Leader Schumer is trying to give his vulnerable members cover by bringing a vote on a bill which has already failed once in the Senate because it would actually codify many of the disastrous Biden open border policies that created this crisis in the first place,” they added.

The vote, announced by Schumer in a Sunday “Dear Colleague” letter, is not expected to be successful. In addition to opposition from Senate Republicans, a number of Hispanic and progressive members came out against the proposal when it came up for a vote in February.

Schumer has justified reviving the border deal as a sign that “Democrats’ commitment to act never waned,” but Republicans believe the vote is a chance to allow vulnerable Democrats to be seen as solving the border crisis.

Democratic senators including Sherrod Brown in Ohio, Jon Tester in Montana, Bob Casey in Pennsylvania, Jacky Rosen in Nevada, and Tammy Baldwin in Wisconsin are running in swing states where the border is listed as a top issue.

In February, Republicans called the deal a “fig leaf” that would not actually rein in the influx of illegal immigrants at the southern border. Democrats hailed it as the most conservative border security bill in a generation.

The legislation, crafted in exchange for aid to Ukraine, fell apart within hours of being announced, leading Democrats to accuse their Republican colleagues of wanting to deny President Joe Biden a policy win ahead of the election. The deal had been opposed by his 2024 rival, former President Donald Trump.

The White House, which negotiated the border deal with a bipartisan working group in the Senate, is considering executive action that would implement many of its provisions apart from the bill, among them quicker deportations for migrants who fail to qualify for asylum and a new authority to shut down the border when crossings surge.

But the lead Democratic negotiator in the Senate, Sen. Chris Murphy (R-CT), said the legislation is still needed due to the funding it would surge to the Biden administration to administer these and other border policies.

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The White House came out in support of the border vote on Monday.

“We strongly support this legislation and call on every Senator to put partisan politics aside and vote to secure the border,” White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said in a statement.

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