House Speaker Mike Johnson, R-La., criticized the Senate’s bipartisan $118 billion border security and foreign aid package after the text of the agreement was released Sunday night, stating that the proposal is “even worse than we expected” and would be “dead on arrival” in the lower chamber.
The legislation would allocate $20 billion for border security to give the federal government temporary authority to expel migrants when the average number of daily crossings exceeds a threshold. The border security component also includes ending “catch and release,” increasing standards for asylum screenings and attempting to process asylum claims quicker.
The foreign aid portion of the agreement includes $60 billion for Ukraine, $14.1 billion for Israel and aid for Indo-Pacific allies. Johnson said he would put $17.6 billion in emergency funding for Israel in a standalone bill up for a vote on the House floor next week.
“I’ve seen enough,” Johnson wrote on X, formerly Twitter. “This bill is even worse than we expected, and won’t come close to ending the border catastrophe the President has created. As the lead Democrat negotiator proclaimed: Under this legislation, ‘the border never closes.'”
“If this bill reaches the House, it will be dead on arrival,” the speaker declared.
The statement from Johnson echoes comments he made before the Senate released the text of the agreement Sunday night.
“If rumors about the contents of the draft proposal are true, it would have been dead on arrival in the House anyway,” he wrote to House Republicans last month.
Shortly before Johnson’s statement, House Majority Leader Steve Scalise, R-La., said the Senate bill would not receive a vote in the lower chamber. Scalise oversees the schedule in the House.
“Let me be clear: The Senate Border Bill will NOT receive a vote in the House,” Scalise wrote on X. “Here’s what the people pushing this ‘deal’ aren’t telling you: It accepts 5,000 illegal immigrants a day and gives automatic work permits to asylum recipients — a magnet for more illegal immigration.”
Sen. Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., said a vote on the package in the Senate could come as early as Wednesday.
Johnson’s statement comes after a few Senate negotiators worked for months on a deal to address border security. Republicans had demanded that any aid for Ukraine be paired with legislation to help the illegal immigration crisis at the Southern Border.
In recent weeks, as negotiators were nearing a deal, Republicans became skeptical of the bipartisan talks, arguing that President Biden already has the resources to address the situation at the border and does not need new legislation. Some Republicans have also suggested that they do not want to support the border bill and give Biden a political win in an election year.
Former President Trump, on his social media platform Truth Social, also urged GOP lawmakers to not support a border deal unless they receive “EVERYTHING needed to shut down the INVASION of Millions & Millions of people.”
Sen. James Lankford, R-Okla., the lead GOP negotiator on the border deal, responded to Johnson’s comments on the proposal, saying that he was confused about how the bill could be worse than House Republicans expected.
“I’m a little confused how it’s worse than they expected when it builds [the] border wall, expands deportation flights, expands ICE officers, border patrol officers, detention beds how it creates a faster process for deportations, clears up a lot of the long-term issues and loopholes that have existed in the asylum law and then gets us an emergency authority that stops the chaos right now on the border,” Lankford told reporters.
“So I’m a little confused,” he continued. “I’ll have to get with the Speaker’s team on that and find out what part would be ‘worse than what we expected’ based on the actual text and hopefully they will all have had an opportunity to read through the text.”
Prior to the release of the text, Lankford told Fox News the claim that the bill would allow 5,000 illegal crossings per day was “the most misunderstood section of this proposal.”
“It would be absolutely absurd for me to agree to 5,000 people a day. This bill focuses on getting us to zero illegal crossings a day,” he said during a Jan. 28 appearance on “Fox News Sunday.”
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