Speaker Johnson Privately Tells House GOP He Would Refuse Senate Border Deal

(USNewsMag.com) – House Speaker and Louisiana Rep. Mike Johnson told the House Republican Conference during a Jan. 14 conference call that he will not accept any border security deal that contains less muscle than H.R.2, the Republicans’ Secure the Border Act.

On the call, Johnson said that in order to get H.R.2 passed, he would “use every tool we can.”

The comments follow a Jan. 9 memo where Johnson listed more than 64 actions, including specific examples of policy decisions that the Biden administration has taken that have made the border crisis worse.

A second lawmaker on the call said, “We need H.R.2 or a functional alternative,” adding that House Republicans do not support the Senate deal. The lawmaker said President Joe Biden “unilaterally” made changes to the border security policy that led to the crisis, adding that he could “unilaterally” fix it.

The comment comes as the Senate and White House continue to work on border security negotiations, with the Senate hoping to present a proposed bill soon. A bipartisan group of senators has discussed compromises about border policy that could be reached in exchange for Republicans voting to support the $110 billion supplemental funding request put forward by Democrats, which contains aid for Ukraine, Taiwan, Israel and the border.

Based on what’s been leaked about the plan, Ohio Rep. Jim Jordan said, “There’s no way Speaker Johnson’s going to go for that.” In a Jan. 13 Twitter post, Johnson wrote “absolutely not” over a graphic that contained details of the proposed Senate plan.

Since H.R. 2 passed the House in May, Johnson has stated, both in private and in public, that it is the House GOP’s default position. It includes restarting policies put in place under the Trump administration, such as Remain in Mexico and restarting construction of the border wall. The Senate and White House have called the bill “a nonstarter.”

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Joann Ariola, a member of the New York City Council, said that her “constituents are terrified” because there are people “they don’t know at their doorbell.” She said the immigrants are often accompanied by children. Ariola said they also usually bring a cell phone or handheld computer with a message displayed and translated into English, usually identifying themselves as a migrant from the nearby Floyd Bennet Field respite center and asking for money. The councilwoman said it’s “very concerning” because sometimes the immigrants are found trespassing on resident’s property.

The Floyd Bennet Field is now occupied by a tent shelter, housing roughly 2,000 immigrants. During the last snowstorm, they were temporarily moved into the James Madison High School, which forced students to stay home for over a week of remote learning. New York City Mayor Eric Adams justified the move as a safety measure due to the instability of the tent shelter during high-speed winds, snow, and frigid temperatures.

Since the spring of 2022, over 150,000 border-crossers have entered New York City, putting a strain on its resources. Adams, who warned the crisis could “destroy” the city, has continued to plead with the federal government to provide more aid.

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