Mitch McConnell, the Republican Senator from Kentucky and Minority Leader, has surprised many by recommending that Republicans block the Senate’s pro-migration border bill from advancing. This first procedural vote was supposed to take place on Wednesday, but now it is uncertain if Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) will push forward.
McConnell’s reasoning behind this decision is the large number of Senate Republicans who plan to vote against the bill, either because of its substance or because they feel they need more time to consider it. McConnell had previously expressed support for the deal and did not voice any personal reservations about the legislation to his colleagues. However, he now believes that the political climate has changed since negotiations began months ago.
Lankford says he anticipates supplemental won’t pass Wednesday !
— Igor Bobic (@igorbobic) February 6, 2024
It’s worth noting that McConnell was a strong advocate for providing foreign aid to Ukraine, and this aid was paired with a border compromise in the original negotiations. Democrats, who also support aid to Ukraine, used McConnell’s commitment to this cause to their advantage by offering a proposed border compromise in exchange for aiding the European nation.
Majority Leader Schumer praised his collaboration with McConnell on this deal, stating that they had never worked so closely together on any piece of legislation. However, leaked details of the agreement, which McConnell’s chosen lead negotiator, Senator James Lankford (R-OK), and other allies denied, were confirmed upon the bill’s release. The widespread opposition to the bill led McConnell to reconsider his plan on Monday night.
Even Senator Lankford, who had been championing the deal leading up to the Senate Republican Conference meeting, did not reveal if he would vote to move forward with the deal he negotiated. The border bill aims to solidify many of the open-border, pro-migration policies implemented by President Biden, which have resulted in an overwhelming wave of migration at the southern border, straining law enforcement resources.
As this story continues to unfold, it will be interesting to see how McConnell’s decision and the Republican opposition to the bill ultimately shape the fate of the Senate’s pro-migration border legislation.