House Speaker Mike Johnson, R-La., said Tuesday that House Republicans “welcome” the dysfunction wrought in the Senate over its border security and supplemental aid bill.
Johnson has made no secret of his opposition to the bipartisan deal, declaring it “dead on arrival” multiple times since its release on Sunday night, including during House GOP leaders’ regular weekly press conference.
“Republicans simply cannot vote for the bill in good conscience, and that is why I declared it dead on arrival. And it looks like right now it may be in some jeopardy, it may be on life support in the Senate,” the speaker said.
“We welcome that development, because this is a matter that must be addressed in a manner that…actually solves the problem.”
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Republican opposition to the Senate’s bipartisan deal began with a trickle on Sunday night before turning into an avalanche of criticism by late Monday.
Democrats have accused Republicans of going back on their own request for border policy changes in exchange for supporting aid to Ukraine. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., said GOP opposition to the deal, particularly in the Senate, is a “dramatic transformation in Republican thought.”
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He also accused the House GOP of opposing the deal just because former President Trump was also against it, something Johnson has denied.
Johnson appeared to attack those accusations on Tuesday, beginning his press conference with references to specific points in the 370-page bill that he opposed.
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“Let me give you a couple of citations of just a few of our countless concerns with the bill in the form that it was sent to us,” the speaker said.
“On page 321, for example, the bill expands work authorizations for illegal aliens, threatens American workers’ wages, and also acts as another magnet for illegal immigration. It’s a pull factor. You don’t want to tell people around the world to come on and over the border, we’ll give you work. And by the way, we’ll put most of you on public assistance so that the American taxpayer can spend billions and billions and billions of dollars to feed and clothe and educate you. That’s not the message that is helpful to send around the world.”
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He continued, “On page 116 of the bill, it endorses the Biden administration’s catch and release policy, endorses it by allowing illegals to be, quote, released from fiscal physical custody, unquote…The shutdown authority in the bill, you know, you’ve heard some things said about that, but it’s riddled with loopholes. You might not have heard that part. It gives Secretary Mayorkas, who is, of course, one of the chief architects of the catastrophe, that we’re all dealing with, the authority to undermine that.”
Meanwhile, Schumer teed up a cloture vote on the package for Wednesday, and at least 25 senators have vowed to vote against the motion, including three Democrats.