December 7, 2023 - 9:00 pm
The White House must get serious about reaching a deal with Republicans over aid to Ukraine and border security. It’s time for President Joe Biden to end the bluster and work toward compromise.
On Wednesday, Senate Republicans blocked the administration’s $111 billion package on a procedural vote that required support from 60 senators for the legislation to advance. The measure bundles financial assistance to Ukraine, Israel and Taiwan with increased funding for U.S. border security.
At issue are additional measures intended to stem the flow of illegal migrants over the southern border. Republicans argue the current bill fails to include policy changes they believe will reduce the number of border crossings.
“Republicans think they get everything they want, without any bipartisan compromise,” Mr. Biden said. “That’s not the answer.”
Yet Republicans have indeed compromised. Clearly the GOP is willing to give in on Ukraine — many Republicans in both the House and Senate have expressed hesitation about further funding that nation’s war with Russia — as long as the president and Democrats do the same on border security.
Given the scope of the immigration disaster the Biden administration has created, this is hardly unreasonable. The GOP priorities include measures to tighten the much-abused asylum screening process and more efficient detention policies that would discourage catch-and-release tactics.
“As we’ve said for weeks, legislation that doesn’t include policy changes to secure our borders will not pass the Senate,” Minority Leader Mitch McConnell reiterated this week. He added, “Apparently some of our colleagues would rather let Russia trample a sovereign nation in Europe than do what it takes to enforce America’s own sovereign borders. They’re convinced open borders are worth jeopardizing security around the world.”
Despite the rhetoric, the conditions for a deal are in place. Both sides agree on aid to Israel. Both sides control one legislative chamber. Republicans in the House are more likely to stomach the legislation if it contains the stronger border security measures that their Senate counterparts are demanding. Even the president has conceded the problems at the border, saying, “We need to fix the broken border system. It is broken.” Senate Republicans have signaled a willingness to negotiate.
If “Republicans are going to move, and we’re going to move, then let’s sit down and talk,” Sen. Chris Murphy, D-Conn., told The Wall Street Journal.
While the GOP typically gets blamed for deadlocks, the real issue is whether the White House will stand up to vocal progressive agitators who favor open borders, a policy wholly rejected by the vast majority of the electorate.