Long-sought border deal faces first vote

The Senate’s long-sought border deal will face a moment of truth when it hits the floor for its first procedural vote this week, a referendum that will show just how much support the legislation has in the upper chamber after months of high-level negotiations — even though it is dead on arrival in the House.

Senate negotiators finally released text of the $118 billion national security supplemental Sunday evening, which includes border security provisions and funding for Ukraine, Israel and Indo-Pacific allies. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) said the first procedural vote will take place on Wednesday.

The upper chamber is moving forward with the legislation even as House Republicans throw cold water on the proposal. Shortly after text dropped on Sunday, Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.) said the package was “even worse than we expected,” adding “If this bill reaches the House, it will be dead on arrival.”

In contrast, the House this week will vote on a standalone Israel aid bill which, if approved, would set the stage for a showdown between the two chambers over emergency funding.

Also this week, the House is set to vote on two articles of impeachment against Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, the outcome of which is still up in the air with one Republican opposed to the effort and a handful of others keeping their cards close to their chests.

The lower chamber is also poised to weigh in on a resolution to censure Rep. Ilham Omar (D-Minn.) for a disputed translation of comments she made about Somalia, after Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) moved to force a vote on the legislation last week. Omar has rejected criticism for her remarks, arguing that it is “a manufactured crisis based on an inaccurate translation taken entirely out of context.”

Senate prepares for first vote on border deal

The Senate is barreling ahead with consideration of the national security supplemental — which includes the bipartisan border security deal — even as its fate in the chamber remains unknown.

The national security supplemental, which spans 370 pages, would grant the federal government the ability to temporarily expel migrants when the average number of daily crossings passes a certain threshold, raise standards for asylum and screening, end so-called “catch and release,” and make it easier for migrants to receive work authorizations, among other provisions.

Schumer and President Biden backed the bipartisan agreement Sunday night, and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said the chamber “must carefully consider the opportunity in front of us and prepare to act.”

Senate conservatives, however, quickly came out against the legislation. Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) wrote on X “This is an open-borders bill if I’ve ever seen one. The Democrats are celebrating already,” and Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) said in a statement “I will not support this deal.”

The deal is also likely to face some opposition from progressives, who may be concerned that the border policy provisions go too far and want to condition aid to Israel.

The resistance from the right-flank — and potential criticism among progressives — will create an uphill battle for Senate leaders in their quest to muster enough support for the legislation. The bill needs at least 60 votes to clear the first procedural vote on Wednesday.

The legislation’s prospects in the House, meanwhile, are even dimmer.

Johnson on Sunday said the legislation would be “dead on arrival” in the chamber, arguing that it would not “come close to ending the border catastrophe the President has created,” while Majority Leader Steve Scalise (R-La.) — who oversees the schedule in the House — said the bill “will NOT receive a vote” in the chamber.

That sentiment is in line with messaging from House GOP leadership in the lead-up to Sunday’s text release, but the blistering statements following the bill’s drop wiped away any speculation that the legislation could see life in the House.

Senate negotiators, nonetheless, are defending their work. Sen. James Lankford (Okla.), the lead GOP negotiator, responded to Johnson after he said the legislation was worse than expected.

“I’m a little confused how it’s worse than they expected when it builds border wall, expands deportation flights, expands ICE officers, border patrol officers, detention beds how it creates a faster process for deportations, clears up a lot of the long-term issues and loopholes that have existed in the asylum law and then gets us an emergency authority that stops the chaos right now on the border,” he said on a call with reporters.

House to vote on Israel aid bill

Johnson announced over the weekend that he will bring a standalone Israel aid bill to the floor this week, another sign of the Speaker’s fierce opposition to the Senate border agreement.

Johnson is moving on the $17.6 billion aid package just as the Senate prepares to hold its first procedural vote on a national security supplemental — which includes Israel aid and the bipartisan border security agreement that has come under intense criticism from conservatives in both chambers.

Passage of the Israel-only bill could set up a face-off between the House and Senate, and throw a wrench into the upper chamber’s effort to pass border policy and funding for U.S. allies around the world.

Johnson on Sunday denied that he was bringing the Israel bill to the floor as a way to blow up the Senate supplemental.

“We’ve been awaiting their action. We cannot wait any longer. The House is willing to lead. And the reason we have to take care of this Israel situation right now is because the situation has escalated of course,” he said on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”

The aid package, meanwhile, marks a shift in strategy for Johnson and the House GOP, which had insisted that any assistance for Tel Aviv include offsets. The House approved a $14.3 billion Israel aid bill last year that included an equal amount in cuts to IRS funding, but Schumer never took it up in the Senate because of the offsets.

It remains unclear if it will muster enough support to pass. House Intelligence Committee Chair Mike Turner (R-Ohio) told CBS’s “Face the Nation” on Sunday that he is “very concerned about… that strategy,” pointing to the exclusion of offsets and assistance for Ukraine. And House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.) wrote in a letter to colleagues Sunday: “There is reason to believe that this eleventh-hour standalone bill is a cynical attempt to undermine the Senate’s bipartisan effort.”

The House Freedom Caucus also came out against the legislation Sunday, taking aim at the lack of offsets.

“It is extremely disappointing that the Speaker is now surrendering to perceived pressure to move an even larger but now unpaid for Israel aid package — reversing course on his stance to require new supplemental spending to be offset,” the conservative group wrote in a statement.

House to vote on Mayorkas impeachment

Mayorkas will face his day of reckoning this week when the House votes on his impeachment — though it is still unclear if the GOP-led effort has enough support to see success.

Republicans on the Homeland Security Committee advanced two articles of impeachment against Mayorkas last week, charging him of “willful and systemic refusal to comply with the law” — based on allegations that he violated immigration laws through Biden administration policies — and “breach of trust,” accusing him of not carrying out his responsibility, misleading Congress and obstructing its investigation.

But some Republicans are skeptical.

Rep. Ken Buck (R-Colo.), who is retiring from the House at the end of this year, announced on Friday that he is a “solid no” on booting Mayorkas. He said he consulted with constitutional experts and former lawmakers and determined “this just isn’t an impeachable offense.”

Next to Buck are a handful of Republicans who have not yet said where they stand on the question of impeaching Mayorkas. The unsteady whip could spell trouble for Johnson and House Republicans, who are aiming to impeach the Biden administration official with their slim majority.

House Minority Whip Katherine Clark (D-Mass.) told reporters last week she expects Democrats to be united in opposition to impeachment of Mayorkas, meaning Republicans can only afford to lose a handful of votes, depending on the number of absences.

Rep. Tom McClintock (R-Calif.) told CNN last week he was “still waiting for them to mark up the charges,” and Rep. Dan Newhouse (R-Calif.) told Politico “I want to hear everything they’ve got.”

House Homeland Security Committee Chair Mark Green (R-Tenn.) predicted that some Republicans will oppose the impeachment push.

“I’m pretty confident that we’ll have a couple that won’t [support the effort],” Green said last week on “The Tennessee Star Report” podcast.

House to consider resolution to censure Omar

The House this week is set to weigh in on a resolution censuring Omar for a disputed translation of comments the congresswoman recently made about Somalia, after Greene moved to force a vote on the measure last week.

Greene called the censure legislation against Omar — a Somali refugee and one of the first two Muslim women elected to Congress — to the floor as a privileged resolution on Friday, a procedural move that compels leadership to set a vote on the measure within two legislative days.

Democratic leadership will likely motion to table the resolution, a vote that will require majority support to be successful. If Republicans, however, defeat that effort, the House will hold an up-down vote on the legislation, and GOP lawmakers will need majority support for passage.

Omar would receive a formal censure and be removed from the Budget Committee and Education and Workforce Committee if Greene’s effort is successful.

Omar came under fire from Republicans after Ambassador Rhoda J. Elmi, the deputy minister of foreign affairs for Somaliland, posted a translation of comments the congresswoman made last weekend that documented the Minnesota Democrat saying the U.S. government “will only do what Somalians in the United States tell them to do.”

“They will do what we want and nothing else. They must follow our orders and that is how we will safeguard the interests of Somalia. We Somalians must have that confidence in ourselves that we call for the shots in the US,” the ambassador’s translation of Omar’s remarks says.

Omar, however, has criticized that translation of her remarks. According to Somalia analyst and co-founder of the Heritage Institute for Policy Studies Abdirashid Hashi, Omar said “the US government will do what we ask it to do.”

The congresswoman brushed aside Greene’s effort last week, telling The Hill: “I have nothing to say about the insanity of that woman.”

Al Weaver contributed.

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