Apr 24, 2024 - Politics & Policy

Centrist Democrats want to refocus on border security

Rep. Marie Gluesenkamp Perez, wearing a powder blue blazer and white sblouse, speaking at a microphone in front of blue flags.

Rep. Marie Gluesenkamp Pérez. Photo: Bill Clark/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images.

A group of moderate, swing-district House Democrats called for Washington to shift its focus to border security just hours after President Biden signed an aid bill to Ukraine, Israel and Taiwan into law.

Why it matters: It signals a rare area of potential bipartisan compromise as Republicans rage about the lack of border security language in the $95 billion foreign aid bill.

Driving the news: The lawmakers said they "strongly agree" with a U.S. Border Patrol labor union which said it is "beyond disappointed" the foreign aid package did not include funding for border security or border policy changes.

  • "Congress and the President must act and bring order to the Southern border," the lawmakers said in a statement.
  • They called for Biden to use his authorities to quickly remove some migrants to Mexico and for Congress to pass a law to allow border officials to rapidly expel asylum seekers like under the pandemic policy of Title 42.

Between the lines: The group is made up of Reps. Marie Gluesenkamp Pérez (D-Wash.), Jared Golden (D-Maine) and Mary Peltola (D-Alaska), Reps. Vicente Gonzalez (D-Texas) and Don Davis (D-N.C.).

  • Those five lawmakers were the only Democrats to vote for a GOP bill last week enhancing criminal penalties for transmitting the positions of Border Patrol agents and destroying Border Patrol communications devices.

Catch up quick: Republican lawmakers have fumed about the foreign aid bill passing without border security funding or border policy provisions after they spent months arguing the two could not be decoupled.

The other side: Republicans may be skeptical of the Democratic border security push, with the National Republican Congressional Committee accusing the vulnerable lawmakers of election-year politics.

  • "It's a pathetic charade that says more about Democrats' political freakout over their open borders policies than it does about their willingness to end the crisis," NRCC spokesperson Jack Pandol said.

Go deeper: House Republicans blame Greene and Freedom Caucus for lack of border wins

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