The main Republican negotiator on a bipartisan border deal confirmed that talks are still going on, even though the leadership of the Senate GOP is worried that moving forward could hurt former President Donald Trump. A big part of Trump’s campaign was making sure the border was safe. He also told Republicans to turn down any deal “unless we get everything,” which made some of his supporters in Congress speak out against a possible bipartisan deal. [Trump]
In a meeting with only his party’s leaders present, Mitch McConnell stated that “politics on this have changed” and that “we don’t want to do anything to undermine [Trump].” Senator James Lankford of Oklahoma shot down the idea that a deal might not work, saying that the focus is on both passing laws to deal with the crisis at the border and recognizing that the border is a major campaign issue.[Trump]
However, some Republicans see McConnell’s comments as an admission of a failed negotiating strategy that has been based on linking border security to funding for Ukraine, which most Republicans are against but McConnell supports. The legislative text has not been made public yet, causing a lot of uncertainty about the possible inclusion of a bipartisan border deal.
Senate Republican Thom Tillis of North Carolina, who wants to see a border deal go through, said that McConnell’s comments were “maybe some people read between the lines, wishful thinking.” Tillis believes that Democrats would only be willing to make the concessions currently being discussed if they were in control of the government. If Trump wins in 2024, a deal between the two parties would give him more power to deal with people crossing the border.