Some GOP senators are edging toward the House’s proposal to block the passage of government funding unless the southern border is secured.
The negotiations over border security, which began with Biden administration officials before the holiday recess, are already conditioned on an agreement to pass $60 billion in assistance to Ukraine in Biden’s national security supplemental request. But as time passes with no clear timeline for an agreement in sight, some lawmakers are starting to look at another avenue in the annual budget to get the border security bill they want.
The staggered deadlines to fund some government agencies are set for Jan. 19 and Feb. 2. Lawmakers are floating the idea of leveraging the pressure of those deadlines to pass border security measures. The Senate has only passed three of 12 appropriations bills for 2024 and will have just 10 days when they return on Monday to approve the first round of funding for several government agencies.
“All options are on the table,” Sen. Roger Marshall, R-Kansas, told Fox News Digital in an interview Thursday. “But isn’t it ironic we are having to beg the president of the United States to secure the border and that we’re going to have to give up something, whether that’s Ukraine funding or something to do with the government spending package.”
Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, posted on X this week to urge Republicans in both chambers “to condition government funding on border security, we could turn this thing around.”
“Biden has legal authority to stop this barbaric flood of illegal immigration and human trafficking. He just refuses to wield it,” he wrote.
On Wednesday, 60 House Republicans held a press conference at the southern border in Eagle Pass, Texas. Rep. Andy Biggs, R-Ariz., who was on the border trip, told Fox News Digital, “Congress must use its power of the purse as leverage to force the Biden regime to enforce our laws and restore order at the border.”
“If the Biden administration does not shut the border down, we’ll shut the government down. We control the money,” he said.
Rep. Eric Burlison, R-Mo., told Fox News Digital that voters in his district would support Congress shutting down the government if it forced Democrats to act on the border.
Senate Republicans are scheduled to congregate for a conference next week to discuss the current status of the negotiations. Before the holiday recess, 15 Senate Republicans sent a letter to Senate Republican Conference Chair John Barrasso of Wyoming to request a conference meeting to discuss the ongoing negotiations, which they have said are clouded by secrecy.
According to Marshall, who has had a few conversations with Sen. James Lankford, R-Okla. — one of the lead negotiators — the major hangups Democrats have in current negotiations are tightening asylum standards and increasing parole.
“If James Lankford can’t crack this nut, I don’t know who’s going to,” Marshall said.
But on Wednesday, Sen. Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., told reporters that officials were “making progress” toward an agreement, despite the House not budging from its hard-line border proposal that would significantly change eligibility for asylum seekers, also known as H.R. 2.
“We’re closer than we have been,” Schumer said. “But this is a very difficult issue. And there’s still different things, different issues to overcome.”
Fox News’ Liz Elkind contributed to this report.