Massive changes to asylum rules, severely limiting "immigration parole" and other changes long-desired by Republicans in Washington have been agreed to.
But House Republicans are insisting on Senate Democrats are passing H.R. 2 with no amendments. H.R. 2 is an immigration bill so toxic that even many Senate Republicans won't touch it.
But Senate Democrats are offering a deal to House Speaker Mike Johnson that's "unusual" to say the least. Johnson is between a rock and a hard place on the border and Ukraine's war funding. He has the leader of his party, Donald Trump, ordering him not to pass a border bill. Trump knows that Biden would take credit for it and remove one of the biggest impediments to his re-election.
But even if Johnson were to find a way to pass the border security bill, he would run up against the "cut-and-run" caucus on Ukraine's assistance. Radical Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene is threatening to call for a vote to "vacate the chair" and have another round of votes on who should lead the House as speaker if Johnson tries to pass the Ukraine funding bill.
So Democrats have hit upon some sort of a solution. Several Democrats have said they will vote to protect Johnson's gavel if he brings the Ukraine funding/border bill to the floor.
Several Democrats — including House Armed Services Committee ranking member Adam Smith (D-Wash.), House Homeland Security Committee ranking member Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.) and border Rep. Vicente Gonzalez (D-Texas) — said yesterday that if Johnson puts the Senate deal on the floor, some in their party would likely step in to make sure he holds on as speaker.
“Our job is not to save Johnson, but I think it would be a mighty pity if he did the right thing … for us not to support him,” Thompson said. “Up to this point, he’s been a fairly honest broker.”
Yes, if Johnson tried that, he'd be boiled in oil by his own caucus. And his relationship with Donald Trump — the man likely to be the next president — would be ruined.
What would the Democrats demand as ransom for their support? It really is a cockamamie idea. But the fact that some Democrats are seriously considering it is significant.
And what about the notion that the crisis at the border can wait until after Trump is sworn in? At the rate that people are arriving at the border, that would be almost 4 million more migrants in the United States by January 20, 2025. It would be shockingly irresponsible for Republicans to play politics with the issue when there's a reasonable solution at hand.
“I am looking for solutions now, not a year from now,” Texas border Rep. Tony Gonzales, a Republican, told Politico.
Rep. Dan Crenshaw (R-Texas) was even more blunt, arguing that delaying progress for political purposes is, essentially, treasonous.
“My question to those Republicans … is: How many hundreds of thousands of illegals would you allow in the country just because it might help your chances of the election?” he said. “I ran for Congress literally on getting the border secure. So if I have a chance to do that, and I don’t do that, I’m a traitor.”
But the leader has spoken.
“I do not think we should do a Border Deal at all, unless we get EVERYTHING needed to shut down the INVASION of Millions & Millions of people, many from parts unknown, into our once great, but soon to be great again, Country!” Trump wrote on Truth Social.
“Also, I have no doubt that our wonderful Speaker of the House, Mike Johnson, will only make a deal that is PERFECT ON THE BORDER,” Trump wrote. “Remember, without Strong Borders and Honest Elections, we don’t have a Country!!!”
The border is still as porous as ever. Ukraine still needs help or Russia will win. And Trump may or may not win the election in November.