Feb 4, 2024 - Politics & Policy

Republicans vow to kill border bill hours after its reveal

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and House Speaker Mike Johnson.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and House Speaker Mike Johnson. Photo: Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images.

The Senate's long-awaited national security deal landed with a thud Sunday evening as House Republicans vowed to block it from a vote and at least one Senate conservative demanded a change in leadership.

Why it matters: The deal took months of agonizing negotiations. Within the first few hours of the bill’s grand reveal — Republicans across the spectrum are driving the nail in the coffin.

  • The bill has been pronounced dead on arrival in the House, which will make its passage even tougher in the Senate.
  • “Only a fool, or a Radical Left Democrat, would vote for this horrendous Border Bill,” former President Trump posted on Truth Social on Monday.

What they're saying: "I've seen enough. This bill is even worse than we expected," Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.) said in a statement. "If this bill reaches the House, it will be dead on arrival."

  • House Majority Leader Steve Scalise (R-La.) swore the bill "will NOT receive a vote in the House."
  • House GOP conference chair Elise Stefanik (R-N.Y.) called the deal an "absolute non-starter."

Zoom in: It's not just the House. Some conservatives in the Senate pounced.

  • “I'm a no,” posted National Republican Senatorial Committee chair Sen. Steve Daines (R-Mont.) Monday morning. Daines was the first member of GOP Senate leadership to come out in opposition.
  • "I cannot understand how any Republican would think this was a good idea—or anything other than an unmitigated disaster. WE NEED NEW LEADERSHIP — NOW," Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) posted on X. He called for Republicans to filibuster the package.
  • "I cannot imagine why any Republican supports this atrocious proposal," Sen. J.D. Vance (R-Ohio) posted.

The big picture: The House and Senate will be moving in opposite directions this week as the House votes on a standalone $17.6 billion Israel aid package.

  • House members in both parties have expressed qualms about undermining the Senate deal — and specifically Ukraine funding —with GOP hardliners criticizing its lack of pay-fors and border provisions.
  • Still, the Israel-only bill stands a chance of passing the House with even more than the 12 Democrats who voted for the GOP's last attempt at an Israel aid bill in November.

What we're watching: If the Senate manages to pass the sweeping national security package and the House passes the Israel-only bill, they could head to what is called a conference committee in an attempt to reconcile the differences, one House Republican told Axios.

Editor's note: This article was updated Monday with new comments from Trump and Daines.

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