GOP lawmakers skeptical about voting on border deal before Christmas as Dems threaten to delay break

A group of bipartisan negotiators are trying to strike a deal of adding stronger border security provisions to the billion-dollar national security supplemental request from the White House. 

However, even if a deal is reached, it is unlikely Congress will give it the stamp of approval before January.

“I don’t know that we got enough time to process if the deal came together,” Sen. Majority Whip John Thune, R-S.D., told reporters Wednesday. “You still got to write it… these are all concepts right now.”

Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., posted to X, saying that lawmakers still need to determine whether the bill will actually solve problems at the border, and whether it will have any momentum in the House.

“The small group negotiating a ‘deal’ in secret may reach agreement among themselves, but then we will need time to review it and determine whether it will actually solve the problem and has any chance of passing in the House,” Rubio wrote Thursday morning. 

“Anyone who thinks we can do all that before the end of the year is delusional,” he said. 

REPUBLICANS SEE PROGRESS IN BORDER TALKS, BUT UNCLEAR IF DEAL WITHIN REACH AS CRISIS RAGES

Talks have been ongoing with senators and Biden administration officials this week, as Republicans have refused to pass some $60 billion in additional aid to Ukraine unless it is tied to strict border security measures, such as immediate screenings for asylum processing and quicker expulsions for illegal entrants. The total amount of supplemental aid the White House first requested in October amounts to roughly $106 billion and includes $14 billion to assist Israel. 

Lawmakers in the upper chamber were expected to recess Thursday, but Sen. Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., filed cloture votes on several judicial nominees late Wednesday night to keep the Senate in session at least until Friday. An extra day is crucial for GOP lawmakers to continue negotiations if they want a chance to pass significant border reforms, as the crisis rages at the southern border. 

However, Schumer indicated that negotiations could continue even into next week. 

“To my Republican colleagues who have said action on the board was urgent, let’s keep working to find a solution instead of rushing for the exits,” Schumer said on the floor Thursday morning. “If Republicans are serious about getting something done, they should not be so eager to go home. This may be our last best chance to get this legislation done.”

Sen. James Lankford, R-Okla, one of the lead negotiators for the GOP, said Thursday they are “making progress,” but the White House still has not made an official offer in writing.

MIGRANT ENCOUNTERS AGAIN TOP 10K IN SINGLE DAY AS LAWMAKERS EYE NEW BORDER LIMITS

Lankford said earlier in the week to reporters that “there’s no paper at all, so that’s what we’ve been trying to move to, how we get some paper and other things finalized.”

Meanwhile, progressives are urging the lead Democrat negotiator, Sen. Chris Murphy, not to agree to any Republican terms in the package. 

“It should be no surprise to anybody that there are a lot of Democrats who are not going to be happy about some things that are being discussed,” Murphy told reporters Wednesday. 

“We’re not there yet, but we continue to head in the right direction,” he said. “And I think it’s more reason for everybody to stay in town, get this done.”

Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, also told reporters Thursday she was “hopeful” for a deal to be reached, and that some lawmakers are “looking to be back here next week to permit that.”

The administration was reportedly open to a nationwide expansion of expedited removal, which allows for recently entered migrants to be quickly removed if they do not meet the initial asylum standard. Rapid expulsions are currently only being used near the border. 

CBS reported this week that the White House was willing to mandate the detention of certain migrants as their claims are considered, as well as a new Title 42-style authority. Title 42 was the COVID-era order that allowed for the rapid expulsion of migrants at the southern border until the Biden administration ended the policy in May.

Even if a deal is reached, however, it is unclear if congressional leaders will have time to pass it before Christmas, especially if it does not include hardline conservative demands that would gain approval in the GOP-led House and put a serious halt on migrants entering the U.S. 

5,000 ILLEGAL IMMIGRANTS RELEASED EVERY DAY INTO US, ADMIN OFFICIALS PRIVATELY TELL LAWMAKERS

Sen. Roger Marshall, R-Kansas, told Fox News Digital in an interview Thursday “the last thing that we can do is allow Schumer in the White House to pass a bipartisan deal with the Senate that never becomes law.”

“That’s what they want,” he said. “So their strategy is to pass something in the Senate that never becomes law, that hangs us out to dry, it hangs Speaker Johnson and my friends in the House out to dry. We as Republicans cannot move forward on a secure the border bill, unless it gets a majority of the majority of the Republican senators.”

“I think from a negotiating standpoint, it’s time to tell them to go to hell and walk out,” he added. 

Meanwhile, Fox News reported that Tuesday saw another day in which overwhelmed officials at the border encountered more than 10,000 migrants in a single day.

Fox News’ Adam Shaw contributed to this report. 

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