Dems use GOP-opposed immigration bill as cudgel against Republicans on border security

Democrats are reminding voters often of Republican opposition to a Senate bill designed to be a compromise on border security, accusing their counterparts of “exploiting” the crisis at the southern border rather than legislating. Democrats in the upper chamber have continued to espouse their support for a border security bill that was negotiated in a bipartisan fashion but was shot down in a test vote by Republicans in February for not being strong enough.”Instead of just making a lot of speeches, pointing a lot of fingers – blame, blame, blame – we Democrats want to get something done to secure our border,” Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., said in floor remarks on Wednesday. DEMS SAY KATIE BRITT’S NEW BILL WOULD CREATE ‘DATABASE OF PREGNANT WOMEN’Schumer began a daily countdown earlier this month, tracking the number of days that have gone by since the immigration bill failed to garner the 60 votes necessary to move forward. “It’s been 98 days since Donald Trump and the Republicans blocked the strongest, most comprehensive border security bill in a generation. And they still don’t have any plan except exploiting the border for Trump’s political gain,” he wrote Wednesday on X in the latest tally. This comes after a source familiar with the discussion told Fox News Digital that the majority leader relayed to Democrats last week his strong consideration for bringing the bill back to the floor, just months ahead of the 2024 elections. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., noted the renewed focus on the border measure in his own floor remarks. He pointed to months of polling revealing the importance of the immigration issue to voters going into the elections, telling colleagues, “perhaps it’s not a coincidence that the Democratic leader has indicated his intention to once again turn the Senate’s focus to the border crisis and to portions of the bipartisan legislation Senator Lankford helped produce earlier this year.”DEMS PUSH BIDEN TO ACT ON FOOD PRICES WITH INFLATION RANKING AS TOP ISSUE AHEAD OF ELECTIONMcConnell explained that President Biden already has all the power he needs to remedy the issues at the southern border, but that he refuses to do so. “The path out of the deepening border crisis [is] actually not a mystery. It just requires a president who’s willing to stop digging,” he said. When a procedural test vote was held in February on the negotiated border measure crafted by Sens. Chris Murphy, D-Conn., Kyrsten Sinema, I-Ariz., and James Lankford, R-Okla., it failed with nearly every Republican voting against it. Many claimed the bill was too weak and did not include enough Republican priorities, while some said it would make the border issue worse. BIDEN TORCHED BY REPUBLICANS FOR TOUGHER IMMIGRATION RULE AHEAD OF NOVEMBER ELECTIONSen. Ron Johnson, R-Wisc., discussed the potential revival of the measure, telling Fox News host Maria Bartiromo that Democrats weren’t operating in good faith during the negotiations. “Democrats were always negotiating for political cover with their failed border bill,” he wrote on X. “That will still be the case if they decide to bring it up again. It was an awful bill, that’s why it died within 24 hours of it being introduced,” he added. Republicans have also pointed to the fact that the House has previously passed a preferred border measure that would re-institute a policy requiring asylum seekers to stay in Mexico while awaiting hearings and resume construction of the border wall, among other things. A similar measure also touts strong support in the House and would similarly “institute Remain in Mexico, reform the parole and asylum laws, and build the border wall,” per a spokesperson from the office of House Speaker Mike Johnson, R-La.DEMS PLAN TO REVIVE BORDER BILL REJECTED BY REPUBLICANS AHEAD OF NOVEMBER ELECTIONHowever, the bill that already passed in the House was never taken up by Schumer. Upon the release of the text for the negotiated Senate border bill, Schumer said in a statement, “Many on the hard-right wanted to hijack this process by demanding we take up H.R. 2, but I made clear the only bill I would bring to the floor was one that could win bipartisan support.””Not a single Democrat in the House or Senate voted for H.R. 2,” he said. In February, Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, looked to attach the GOP-backed border measure, or H.R. 2, to a government spending extension. The proposal was ultimately rejected. Also in February, the issue of immigration soared to the top of Gallup’s “Most Important Problem” list that surveyed Americans. Of those polled, 28% said immigration was the country’s top issue. This was the first time immigration emerged as the most important issue since 2019. As McConnell alluded to, Democrats in the Senate face the worst election map in years, with several incumbents in competitive races in swing states. Schumer and the Democrats enjoy a slim majority in the upper chamber, with 51 senators caucusing with Democrats to 49 Republicans. The seven most competitive Senate races in 2024, per non-partisan political handicapper the Cook Political Report, are for seats that are currently held by those caucusing with Democrats in Michigan, Arizona, Montana, Ohio, Nevada, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania. Given the difficult election map, Republicans face a significant opportunity to regain the majority in the chamber come 2025, especially as the vulnerable incumbents are prompted to defend the border under Democratic rule. 
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