GOP lawmakers vow to keep the border open despite Trump threat
The Senate has passed a $1.9 trillion border security package that would prevent the flow of undocumented migrants through the U.S. border and create an international panel of experts to oversee the construction of a new border wall.
However, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., and the House Speaker Paul Ryan, R.W., have threatened to veto the legislation if it comes to the floor for a vote.
“The border is open, we will keep the wall,” McConnell said at a news conference.
“We will not allow the United States to be used as a staging post for terrorists.
The Senate will not stand idly by.”
A bipartisan group of Senate Democrats led by Sens.
Joe Manchin, D-W.
Va., and Maria Cantwell, D,W.H., said on Tuesday that they will oppose the bill if it reaches the floor.
“As the nation’s leader, we should not be sending a message of support for terrorists by taking a major step to seal our borders,” Manchin said in a statement.
“With a $10 billion wall on our southern border and the death toll on our roads, this is not the time to send another message of weakness.”
Ryan, meanwhile, said he would veto the bill.
“I believe the border is porous, the wall is not needed, and the border security bill fails to provide adequate funding for our nation’s border security,” he said in an emailed statement.
Ryan said the House is working on a separate border security proposal.
“While the Senate has moved forward on a bipartisan border security plan, the House remains committed to passing our own comprehensive package of border security measures,” he added.
The House voted last month to approve the GOP-authored border security spending bill, which passed in a 248-184 vote.
A bill that would have given Congress the ability to levy a 20 percent tax on imports from Mexico passed in December.
The measure had to pass in both chambers of Congress before it could be signed into law by President Donald Trump.
On Tuesday, House Republicans and Senate Democrats held a private meeting to discuss the border wall and its potential impact on American jobs.
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, DN.Y., called the meeting “an opportunity to show that the Senate will always stand with our people and our businesses, regardless of who is in power,” The Associated Press reported.
“If we want to keep our jobs here in New York, we need to stand with the people and businesses that have been laid off by this administration,” Schumer said.