House GOP Unveil New Border Bill Separate From Foreign Aid Packages

Stephen Katte
By Stephen Katte
April 17, 2024Congress
House GOP Unveil New Border Bill Separate From Foreign Aid Packages
Republican presidential candidate former President Donald Trump listens as Speaker of the House Mike Johnson (R-La.) speaks during a press conference at President Trump's Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach, Fla., on April 12, 2024. (Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

Leaders in the GOP-controlled House of Representatives have introduced a new border security bill to help appease Republicans who feel betrayed after Speaker Mike Johnson’s (R-La.) foreign aid packages excluded stricter measures to battle the growing illegal immigration crisis at the southern Border.

U.S. Border Patrol has encountered more than 7.6 million illegal immigrants trying to cross the border since President Joe Biden took office in January 2021, with millions more gotaways estimated to have entered undetected.

Mr. Johnson revealed a series of foreign aid bills on April 17 totaling $95 billion in separate funding for Ukraine, Israel, Taiwan, and other Indo-Pacific partners.

But despite his previous insistence that any foreign aid package for Ukraine include legislation to address the growing number of people illegally flooding through U.S. borders, the latest version of the bill has moved the border measures to separate legislation following an impasse with Democrats on the issue. The House is expected to vote on the bill later this week.

According to Mr. Johnson, the border security bill is moving separately to the funding measures for Ukraine, Israel, and Taiwan, and is an “aggressive” measure instrumental to the broader conversation about national security.

Legislation known as H.R. 2 was initially passed in the House last May and aims to reform the asylum system with a priority to reduce frivolous applications while still keeping the U.S. border intact, restart the process of building more extensive border fortifications, require reporting on illegal activities of Mexican drug cartels and foreign terrorist organizations at the border, clarify standards for keeping families united in immigration detention, and reforming immigration parole rules, among other measures. However, it has not passed the Senate.

Mr. Johnson says the new bill, the “End the Border Catastrophe Act,” is based on H.R. 2 and outlines many of the same policies.

“We’re gonna put the key elements of H.R. 2, which is our legislation that House Republicans passed over a year ago; it’s been sitting on Chuck Schumer’s desk collecting dust as they mock it,” he said.

“We’re gonna reintroduce that, end catch and release, reinstate ‘Remain in Mexico,’ fix the broken asylum process, fix the broken parole process (it’s been abused), rebuild portions of the wall.”

Some House Republicans Critical of Speaker

The move has received criticism from some of Mr. Johnson’s peers in the House, who are concerned that because the foreign aid funding and border laws are separate, only the funding packages will be passed in the Democrat-majority Senate, while the border laws will be dead on arrival.

“It’s a theatrics, shiny object; it’s the shiny object for Republicans that are saying, ‘We got to do something for the border,'” Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) said to the media following the bill’s unveiling.

Rep. Bob Good (R-Va.), the chair of the House Freedom Caucus, called it “a joke,” “pretend,” and “theater.”

The White House has already announced its support for the packages, with President Joe Biden saying he would “sign this into law immediately to send a message to the world: ‘We stand with our friends, and we won’t let Iran or Russia succeed.’

“The House must pass the package this week and the Senate should quickly follow,” he said.

President Biden did not specifically state his stance on the proposed border bill.

Since Mr. Johnson announced his plan to introduce new foreign aid on the floor on April 15, he has faced pressure from at least two members of the Freedom Caucus—Reps. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) and Thomas Massie (R-Ky.)—to resign immediately, although former President Donald Trump has voiced his support for the speaker who he said is in a difficult position. Mr. Johnson has said he has no plans to resign.

House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.) has indicated that Mr. Johnson could receive the support of the Democrats if Republicans try to oust him. Mr. Johnson warned that Democrats would likely elect one of their own.

“If the speaker will do the right thing and allow the House to have an up or down vote on the national security bill, I believe that there are a reasonable number of Democrats who would not want to see the speaker fall,” Mr. Jeffries said.

Joseph Lord contributed to this Report.

From The Epoch Times

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