Schumer revives doomed border plan to protect five vulnerable senators

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) announced Sunday evening that he would bring the failed Senate border bill back up for a vote this week, but Republicans claim the vote is a stunt to defend vulnerable Democrats up for election in November.

Schumer proclaimed in his “Dear Colleague” letter that the upper chamber of Congress would be dealing with “the pressing issue of our nation’s border security” this week and accused former President Donald Trump and his allies of initially sinking the bill. He is trying to put the ball in the GOP-led House of Representatives’ court by claiming the “Democrats’ commitment to act never waned.”

House Republican leaders, including House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-LA), House Majority Leader Steve Scalise (R-LA), House Majority Whip Tom Emmer (R-MN), and House Republican Conference Chairwoman Elise Stefanik (R-NY), issued a joint statement on Monday morning accusing the Democratic Senate leader of using the vote as “cover” for some of his vulnerable members.

“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. 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,” the House GOP leaders said.

“Should it reach the House, the bill would be dead on arrival,” the statement continued.

House GOP leadership also pointed to pieces of legislation it has passed but that the Senate has left idle, including the Laken Riley Act and HR 2.

“If Senate Democrats were actually serious about solving the problem and ending the border catastrophe, they would bring up HR 2 and pass it this week,” the statement continued.

Republicans have made border security a central part of their campaigns since Trump started running on the idea of building a wall across the entire length of the border with Mexico.

The pressure to look tough on questions of border security and illegal immigration is building on several vulnerable Democrats. Even those senators who aren’t in border states have felt the need to talk and vote tough on the border so they can assuage voters’ fears about record levels of illegal border crossings.

Sens. Jon Tester (D-MT) and Sherrod Brown (D-OH) are seeking reelection in heavily Republican states, while Sens. Jacky Rosen (D-NV), Bob Casey (D-PA), and Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) all face tough battles in key swing states for the presidential election.

Many of these senators have looked to remove the ability for the GOP to attack on border security, with all of them supporting the border bill Schumer is reviving. All five senators are in races rated as either “toss-ups” or “lean Democratic” by the CookPoliticalReport. In all five of the states where the senators are running, President Joe Biden is either trailing or neck-and-neck with Trump in the polls.

Biden has also looked to neutralize the border matter in his reelection battle against Trump and has pushed for the bill to get passed to show action on the border, which remains a key topic for voters.

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“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 on Monday regarding Schumer’s announcement to bring the border bill for a vote this week.

Republicans have pushed back on the bill as not going far enough, solidifying bad border security policies, and having provisions for items they argue Biden can already do through executive authority.

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