Senate Republicans are clear that they won’t vote to advance bipartisan border and foreign aid legislation on Wednesday. The only remaining question is whether that’s the end of discussion — or just a strategy to push for more time.
Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) is the latest senior GOP conference member to say he’d oppose advancing the legislation this week, arguing that lawmakers “need more time” but adding: “I’m pretty confident we can do better with a new president who actually will enforce the law.”
Some made clear they’d like more time for the Republican conference to consider the proposal, reached between Sens. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), Kyrsten Sinema (I-Ariz.) and James Lankford (R-Okla.) and released over the weekend.
“My intention is to, at least on the motion to proceed, to vote where I think most our conference is going to be — which is no,” said Minority Whip John Thune (R-S.D.).
However, it’s far from clear even to Lankford whether GOP senators want to take more time on the legislation, which some have pushed for open amendments to, or fully stop work on it. If the bipartisan approach implodes fully amid the Republican resistance, Democratic leaders have not revealed whether or how they plan to win passage of aid to Ukraine and Israel.
Lankford told reporters that “if we’re actually delaying so we can actually get stuff done — and to be able to actually do a passage [vote] — I’m fine to be able to delay” but that “we need to do something.”
Asked jokingly by a reporter how he felt being run over by a metaphorical bus by GOP colleagues opposing his work, Lankford scoffed” “And backed up [over].”
Lead Democratic negotiator Murphy said his Republican colleagues were “not serious people” and slammed their treatment of Lankford’s efforts as “disgusting.”
“How can you trust any Republican right now? How would we know what to do next?” he asked. “They told us what to do. We follow their instructions to the letter, and then they pulled the rug out from under us in 24 hours.”
He added: “They didn’t even give [Lankford] the chance to argue the merits. These are not serious people.”
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer slammed the abrupt about-face from GOP lawmakers during a floor speech, giving no indication that he would abandon plans to vote on taking up the bill this week.
“This is the new Republican line on the border: it’s an emergency, but it can wait 12 months – or until the end of time,” he said. “What utter bunk.”