Shutdown risk grows with GOP’s border fury

House Speaker Mike Johnson, right, is briefed by Texas Department of Public Safety chief Steve McCraw, left, Wednesday, Jan. 3, 2024, in Eagle Pass, Texas.
Published January 4, 2024

The risk of a shutdown is growing as Senate and House conservatives threaten to defund the government unless President Biden and Senate Democrats agree to secure the southern border.

The border fight already has hopelessly delayed a supplemental funding bill that includes aid to Ukraine and Israel.

Now conservatives in both chambers are shifting their attention to regular spending bills, which they see as their greatest leverage to get Biden to crack down on the flow of migrants into the country.

“There’s going to be a big effort to make sure we do nothing on funding unless we secure the border,” Sen. Rick Scott (R-Fla.) told The Hill on Wednesday. “That’s going to be the big fight.

“Everybody knows that the southern border now is a clear and present danger, the country knows it’s a clear and present danger. The numbers [of migrants] are staggering,” he said. “I’m going to work with anybody I can to make sure there won’t be any funding bill done until there’s a secure border.

“Everybody I’ve talked to in the House, that’s where they are,” he added. “Everybody I’m talking to believes that.”

The government would enter a partial shutdown if Congress does not provide funding for military construction and the departments of Veterans Affairs, Agriculture, Energy, Transportation and Housing and Urban Development by Jan. 19. The rest of the government must be funded by Feb. 2.

Scott said that conservatives are looking to attach major border security reforms to regular government funding legislation because it doesn’t look like the emergency package that included Ukraine and Israel aid will move anytime soon.

The Florida senator made his comments after Texas Rep. Chip Roy (R) circulated a letter Tuesday urging his colleagues to hold up government funding legislation until Biden and Democrats agree to the border security and asylum reforms included in H.R. 2, the Secure the Border Act, which the House passed in May.

“We must make funding for federal government operations contingent on the president signing H.R. 2, or its functional equivalent, into law and stopping the flow across our border (with demonstrable near-zero results),” he wrote in a “Dear Colleague” letter.



RELATED: House Speaker Wants US ‘Border Closed’ Before Passing Ukraine, Israel Aid

U.S. House Speaker Mike Johnson, center left, and Texas Department of Public Safety Chief Steve McCraw, center right, lead a group of Republican members of U.S. Congress during a tour of the Texas-Mexico border, in Eagle Pass, Texas, Jan. 3, 2024.
Published January 4, 2024

U.S. House Speaker Mike Johnson led about 60 fellow Republicans in Congress on a visit Wednesday to the Mexican border to demand hard-line immigration policies in exchange for backing President Joe Biden’s emergency wartime funding request for Ukraine.

He expressed serious doubts about whether he would support a bipartisan compromise.

The trip to Eagle Pass, Texas, came as the Senate engages in delicate negotiations in hopes of striking a deal.

With the number of illegal crossings into the United States topping 10,000 on several days last month, the border city has been at the center of Republican Governor Greg Abbott’s Operation Lone Star, his nearly $10 billion initiative that has tested the federal government’s authority over immigration and elevated the political fight over the issue.

An agreement in the lengthy talks in Washington could unlock Senate GOP support for Biden’s $110 billion package for Ukraine, Israel and other U.S. security priorities. In meetings, Senators Kyrsten Sinema, an Independent from Arizona, James Lankford, a Republican from Oklahoma, and Chris Murphy, a Democrat from Connecticut, are trying to make progress before Congress returns to Washington next week.

But Johnson, a Republican from Louisiana, told The Associated Press during the border tour that he was holding firmly to the policies of a bill passed by House Republicans in May without a single Democratic vote. It would build more of the border wall and impose new restrictions on asylum-seekers. Democrats called the legislation “cruel” and “anti-immigrant,” and Biden promised a veto.

“If it looks like H.R. 2, we’ll talk about it,” Johnson said of any border legislation that emerges from the Senate.

At a news conference, Johnson also suggested he could use a looming government funding deadline as further leverage.



RELATED: Speaker Mike Johnson and 64 House Republicans Assess the Crisis on the Southern Border

Published January 4, 2024

On Wednesday, Speaker of the House Mike Johnson led a delegation of 64 House Republicans on a tour of the southern border in Eagle Pass, Texas. Their goal was twofold: to review the damage caused by the record influx of illegal aliens, particularly over the last month, and to put pressure on President Joe Biden to implement tougher immigration policies.


House Speaker Mike Johnson on Wednesday led a delegation of 64 Republicans in a trip to the southern border as the GOP seeks to ramp up election-year pressure on President Joe Biden and Democrats to reach a deal on immigration restrictions.

The group toured the Eagle Pass, Texas, port of entry and held an afternoon news conference, during which the GOP lawmakers continued their demands for tougher restrictions and criticism of President Biden amid the tumult at the southwest border.

In his introduction to the press conference, Speaker Johnson referred to their location as “the epicenter of the crisis.”

We have 64 House Republicans that have joined us here in Eagle Pass. They represent 26 states, one U.S. territory. You have everybody from California to Maryland, from Michigan to Florida. We represent over half of the U.S. States because every state in America is now a border state, and we’ve seen that on vivid display today.

Just listen to the caterwauling of Chicago Mayor Brandon Johnson or the whining of New York Mayor Eric Adams. These former sanctuary city champions have now gotten a taste of what Texas has had to endure for years, and they don’t like it one bit. We’re all border states now.





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Cherry May Timbol – Independent Reporter
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