The White House is going after House Speaker Mike Johnson’s posture on the ongoing border security and supplemental funding talks in a new public memo on Monday morning.
It comes after Johnson took a swipe at President Biden’s endorsement of those negotiations, arguing it was the Democratic administration’s policies and executive actions, not current law, fueling the border crisis.
“Until recently, Speaker Johnson advocated for HR2 because, in his view, presidents needed new legal authorities in order to secure the border,” White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said, referencing the border security bill that Democrats have called a nonstarter. “What’s more, the Trump Administration argued the same – with the full-throated endorsement of then Congressman Mike Johnson.”
“If Speaker Johnson continues to believe – as President Biden and Republicans and Democrats in Congress do – that we have an imperative to act immediately on the border, he should give this administration the authority and funding we’re requesting to secure the border,” Jean-Pierre said.
Johnson spokesman Raj Shah hit back at Jean-Pierre, maintaining that Johnson has remained consistent that “national security starts at our own border.”
“The Secure the Border Act would codify this principle into federal law and he continues to strongly urge the Senate and President to support it or similar legislation,” Shah told Fox News Digital.
“But make no mistake, President Biden pledged on Friday to ‘shut down the border.’ However, with the stroke of a pen, he could begin by restoring Remain in Mexico, ending catch and release, reforming asylum, and parole standards. His refusal places our national sovereignty at stake.”
Biden promised on Friday that he would “shut down the border” if the proposal being worked on in the Senate became law.
Johnson said in response, “President Biden falsely claimed yesterday he needs Congress to pass a new law to allow him to close the southern border, but he knows that is untrue.”
The speaker wrote Biden a letter late last year calling on him to take executive action on the border.
“As my letter stated, President Biden can begin to secure the border by ending catch-and-release, ceasing exploitation of parole authority, reinstating the Remain in Mexico program, expanding the use of expedited removal authority, and renewing construction of the border wall,” Johnson said Friday.
“The President must start by using the broad legal authority he already possesses to reclaim our nation’s sovereignty and end the mass release of illegal aliens into our country,” Johnson added.
Jean-Pierre’s Monday memo pointed out that Johnson’s letter also said, “Statutory reforms designed to restore operational control at our southern border must be enacted.”
She also referenced past comments by then-President Trump calling on Democrats to pass border and immigration reform and close “loopholes” in the system.
A bipartisan group of senators has been negotiating with the Biden administration for weeks on measures to stymie the ongoing migrant crisis. Republicans in the House and Senate have said such reforms are critical to their support for Democrats’ $106 billion supplemental funding request with money for Ukraine, Israel and other issues.
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