Senate Republicans, along with independent Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona, worked Thursday on a proposal to add $6 billion in border funding to the upper chamber’s stopgap bill to fund the government and avert a shutdown.
Some Republicans also seek to add immigration reform language to the Senate’s continuing resolution. House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., who’s embroiled with hardliners in his own party in the lower chamber, said Republicans want “policy [changes]. Money won’t do anything.”
In essence, Republicans are looking to put a stop to the Biden administration’s “catch and release” policy, which allows illegals to travel to the interior of the U.S. while they await asylum hearings. McCarthy is pushing for a “Remain in Mexico” policy, similar to the COVID-era Title 42.
“We’re trying to figure out a way to grow the vote to avoid a shutdown but also to have real teeth for border and immigration reform that could potentially get done,” said Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas. “Basically, I think, it boils down to ending catch and release. That happens because there’s no reasonable detention of people while their asylum claims are being considered.”
Adding the $6 billion for the border — picked to match the supplemental funding for Ukraine — would require a simple majority in the Senate to advance. Adding the border policy changes, however, would require 60 votes in the Senate, which, like any CR that came from the House with that attached, would be dead on arrival.
“I’m for immigration reform, and I’ve been that way for 10 years since we passed it on the floor” in 2013. “This notion that we’re going to stick it into a measure that’s going to pass in 48 hours is unrealistic,” said Senate Judiciary Committee Chair Dick Durbin, D-Ill.
The Senate on Thursday voted 76-22 to advance its stopgap measure that would fund the government through Nov. 17. That CR has $6 billion for Ukraine and another $6 billion in domestic disaster response funding.
However, McCarthy has vowed not to bring that bill for a vote in the House in its current form. His gambit is that the addition of border policy language — in either the Senate or House — is the only way to get a CR passed by House hardliners, led by Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., who are dead-set against passing stopgaps and the $1.59 trillion in discretionary spending agreed to in May by McCarthy and President Joe Biden.
Not likely, said his counterpart in the Senate.
“We can take the standard approach and fund the government for six weeks at the current rate of operations, or we can shut the government down in exchange for zero meaningful progress on policy,” Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said Wednesday.
Mark Swanson ✉
Mark Swanson, a Newsmax writer and editor, has nearly three decades of experience covering news, culture and politics.
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