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Senate Republicans Slam Establishment GOP For ‘Rushed And Secret’ Border Negotiations With Democrats

Mitch McConnell
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Establishment Republicans led by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell have been working with Democrats to push legislation funding the proxy war in Ukraine across the finish line. But at least 15 of their fellow Republicans are calling foul on their ploy, which feigns concern for voters’ outrage about the border while further bankrolling the war in Eastern Europe.

Sen. Ron Johnson and 14 of his upper chamber colleagues penned a letter on Sunday to Senate Republican Conference Chairman John Barrasso asking him to call a meeting that would open up border security legislation discussions to the entire conference.

The meeting would also give Republicans a chance to once again voice their concerns about rubberstamping $106 billion to foreign countries, giving President Joe Biden a free pass on the border crisis, and allowing McConnell to take advantage of the holiday schedule pressures to advance his political goals.

“Rushed and secret negotiations with Democrats who want an open border and who caused the current crisis will not secure the border,” the Republicans wrote. “The American public deserves an open and transparent process which cannot occur until the House returns the week of January 8, 2024.”

The Republicans emphasized that delaying a conference meeting until “the week of January 8th” would give them adequate time to formulate a solution that doesn’t sacrifice the interests of Americans who are increasingly frustrated with the amount of money Congress has thrown at Ukraine, while crises at home — including one on our Southern border — continue to worsen.

On Sunday, the same day Johnson sent his letter, McConnell and Lankford expressed doubt that they would be able to close the border deal before the Senate holiday’s recess. They emphasized that “while progress is being made,” negotiation “takes time to get right.”

“Conducting rushed and secret backroom negotiations is not the way to address the unprecedented border crisis. That’s the kind of business as usual process that Washington leadership has relied upon to mortgage our children’s future and weaken our country,” Johnson said in a statement. “Whatever negotiators produce will need to be fully vetted, discussed, and understood — by members and the general public. That will take weeks — not hours or days. I look forward to our conference meeting the week of January 8th, where we can begin that vetting and discussion.”

So far, Senate negotiations about the plan have been limited to McConnell and his allies like Sen. James Lankford, who met with independent Sen. Kyrsten Sinema and Democrat Sen. Chris Murphy over the weekend — boxing out other members of the Senate GOP.

Only in recent months has GOP leadership in the upper chamber become “unusually vocal” about the record-breaking number of border crossers illegally entering the country.

Their sudden interest in curbing a crisis created by Democrats coincided with Biden’s indication that he would sign border security legislation so long as it included his proposed funding for Ukraine. The push also comes mere months before several of the Senate Republicans face primaries in the 2024 election.

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