Murphy says border talks ‘largely done,’ signaling potential final phase

Bipartisan border talks are “largely done” and have advanced to the Senate Appropriations Committee — signaling talks are entering a potential final phase — according to lead Democratic negotiator Sen. Chris Murphy.

“Our work is largely done,” Murphy (D-Conn.) said. “The conversation has really moved over to Appropriations. So, there’s no reason why we couldn’t begin consideration this week.”

Murphy said bill text is not yet finalized, but noted “we need to give people the ability to read and understand” the deal before a vote. He added that both caucuses have already been briefed “on the outlines of what we have agreed upon.” Senators will want time to review the bill and potentially propose amendments, but the process for that will ultimately be up to leadership.

The language from Murphy is among the most optimistic negotiators have used in weeks — with Murphy and fellow negotiators Sens. Kyrsten Sinema (I-Ariz.) and James Lankford (R-Okla.) looking to find some degree of compromise on the complex issue of immigration. Republicans conditioned further aid to Ukraine on the inclusion of border policy changes as part of the White House $106 billion national security supplemental request.

Presidential parole authority has been the main lingering issue in talks, with Democrats arguing parole is a key tool for managing migration at the southern border. Asked if talks moving on to the Senate Appropriations Committee signals that parole issues have been worked out between negotiators, Murphy reemphasized that “the work now” is in Appropriations.

Senate leadership last week signaled interest in moving the supplemental this week — meaning there’s at least some degree of expectation that the border talks will be wrapped up soon.

But to be sure, the talks have already blown past multiple deadlines, and the spending component of the border will still be challenging because of ties to any potential policy changes. Negotiators have considered a wide array of potential changes as part of the talks, including restricting asylum and parole, expanding expulsion authority and implementing a cap on daily entries.

Burgess Everett contributed to this report.