Johnson on Border Deal: 'Dead on Arrival'

House speaker pushes back on Senate legislation on immigration, border, Ukraine aid
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jan 26, 2024 2:05 PM CST
Johnson: Senate Border Deal 'Dead on Arrival'
Speaker of the House Mike Johnson, R-La., gives a statement to reporters on Jan. 12 at the Capitol in Washington.   (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File)

House Speaker Mike Johnson took a strong stand Friday against a bipartisan Senate deal to pair border enforcement measures with Ukraine aid, sending a letter to colleagues that aligns him with hard-line conservatives determined to sink the compromise on border and immigration policy. Johnson said the legislation would've been "dead on arrival in the House" if leaked reports about the legislation were true, per the AP. While a core group of senators negotiating the deal haven't yet released text of the bill, it has already come under fire from Republicans, including former President Trump, who eviscerated the deal this week as a political "gift" to Democrats.

"Rather than accept accountability, President Biden is now trying to blame Congress for what HE himself intentionally created," Johnson wrote in the letter. The message added to the headwinds facing the border and Ukraine deal, closing a week in which Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell acknowledged to his colleagues that Trump's opposition could force them to pursue Ukraine aid another way. He later clarified that he was still supportive of pairing border measures with Ukraine aid, though there is no clear path ahead.

Johnson was already deeply skeptical of any bipartisan compromise on border policy, which would be necessary to clear the Senate. On Friday, he again pointed to a sweeping set of immigration measures that the House passed last year as being the answer to the nation's border challenges. But that bill failed to gain a single Democratic vote then and has virtually no chance of picking up Democratic support now. As they enter an election year, Republicans are seeking to drive home the fact that historic numbers of migrants have come to the US during Biden's presidency. His administration has countered that global unrest is driving the migration and has sought to implement humane policies on border enforcement.

(More Mike Johnson stories.)

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