Joe Biden Makes Last Ditch Attempt To Save Border Bill As Path Ahead Unclear

Republicans’ rejection of a bipartisan plan throws the fate of U.S. support for allies up in the air.

President Joe Biden attempted Tuesday to shame congressional Republicans into saving a bipartisan border security and foreign aid package in the Senate even as lawmakers were already looking beyond the deal.

“Republicans have to decide who do they serve: Donald Trump? Or the American people?” Biden said in a televised address from the White House.

Biden said congressional Republicans were bowing to pressure from the former president and vowed he would take the issue to the American people in the fall.

“It looks like they’re caving. Frankly, they owe it to the American people to show some spine and do what they know to be right,” he said.

After its unveiling Sunday evening, the border bill has been subject to increasing criticism from Republicans on the Hill, who said it does not go far enough to secure the border despite making changes in the asylum process and giving additional authority to the president to close the border.

The bill is tentatively set for a procedural test vote on Wednesday, and it’s unclear if it will survive even that hurdle, much less get the 60 votes needed to get a final up or down vote in the chamber.

House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.), at a press conference Tuesday morning, said he only wanted to move ahead with the $17.6 billion bill to provide aid to Israel and replenish U.S. munitions.

He also welcomed senators balking at the border bill.

“It may be on life support in the Senate. We welcome that development,” he said.

“I think this bill is dead,” Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) said at a press conference.

The border deal was supposed to break a logjam over aid for Ukraine as it fends off the Russian invasion and for Israel, which responded to the Oct. 7 attacks by Hamas with a brutal invasion of Gaza.

Both issues have support, but Democrats are more eager to vote for Ukraine aid, while Republicans are more intent on helping Israel. But it appeared too early to discuss tying the two countries’ aid together yet.

“I don’t expect that that’s going to happen at this point. We have to deal with these measures and these issues independently and separately. I think that they merit that. I think they deserve that,” Johnson said.

“I believe that Israel needs to be decoupled from the border debate and all the rest of this and taken care to get that off the table.”

After his speech, Biden also told reporters he was not ready yet to give up on the broader border bill to get an aid-only package.

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