Oklahoma Republican Sen. James Lankford is getting criticism this week over signing on as the GOP sponsor for the Democrats’ proposal for the border.
House Republican leadership dismissed the bill as “dead on arrival” hours after the text was published, adding Monday that “any consideration of this Senate bill in its current form is a waste of time.” That’s because the bill essentially codifies the current border crisis into law.
“This bill is even worse than we expected,” said GOP House Speaker Mike Johnson over the weekend.
Utah Republican Sen. Mike Lee called the negotiated legislation a “betrayal.” “This is worse than bad negotiation,” Lee wrote on X.
Republican Texas Sen. Ted Cruz called the bill “an utter disaster” in a social media post linked to an online thread from Connecticut Democrat Sen. Chris Murphy bragging about the negotiated legislation keeping a border that “never closes.”
Former President Donald Trump piled on in an interview on “The Dan Bongino Show.” “I think this is a very bad bill for [Lankford’s] career,” Trump said, “especially in Oklahoma.”
Indeed, last month, the Oklahoma senator was formally censured by his home state’s GOP over his betrayal of voters’ policy priorities. The border crisis doesn’t even need a new law to solve. What it requires is enforcement of existing laws.
Now with open talk of a primary against Lankford, who isn’t up for re-election until 2028, the Oklahoma lawmaker is faced with the consequences of serving as the water boy for Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell.
McConnell’s presence behind the negotiations remains the biggest open secret in Washington this week. It was the GOP Senate chief who ironed out the details of the legislation with Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer to once again bankroll Ukraine while offering lip service to the U.S. southern border crisis. McConnell just couldn’t take the blame when the proposal unveiled turned out to be so politically toxic that even members of Republican leadership were forced to distance themselves from it. The statement released by the chair of the Republican Senate Conference on Tuesday exemplifies the GOP leader’s strategy.
“Senator Lankford worked relentlessly to change the course of this crisis,” said Wyoming Sen. John Barrasso. “[Lankford] fought for us to close the border and for a return to policies that stop the flood of illegal immigration. Joe Biden and Senate Democrats failed him and failed the country.” The bill proposed, however, “does not meet most Americans’ standard of securing our border now,” he wrote.
In other words, it was also Lankford who failed — not McConnell, nor any other members of Senate GOP leadership.
The Oklahoma senator was reportedly asked on Capitol Hill Wednesday how it felt to be thrown under the bus. Lankford reportedly replied, “and backed up [over].”
Lankford even took hits from X CEO Elon Musk, who has more than 170 million followers on his platform.
“The long-term goal of the so-called ‘Border Security’ bill is enabling illegals to vote!” Musk wrote in a post on X. “It will do the total opposite of securing the border.”
The tech CEO included a clip from “60 Minutes” on CBS aired Sunday.
As Republican Senate leadership rolled out a disastrous border bill Sunday night, CBS’s flagship program ran a “bonkers” segment showcasing the total breakdown of U.S. security along the southern border. Armed federal agents stood by and watched as upwards of 3,000 migrants per day, according to a nearby landowner, came through an open hole in the border fence and were hastily released into the country within 72 hours.
The migrants were primarily Chinese. They said they learned of the opening 60 miles east of San Diego, Calif., with step-by-step instructions promoted on the Chinese-owned social media app TikTok.
“The illegal entryway is a new route for those hoping to live in America,” CBS’s Sharyn Alfonsi reported.
McConnell’s Pattern Of Repeat Blunders
The Senate border boondoggle is just McConnell’s latest move to undermine American voters. Throughout the 2022 midterms, the GOP Senate leader redirected scarce resources into races more likely to keep allies in power rather than where the funds were needed most to ensure a Republican Senate majority. That included fueling an election between two Republicans instead of prioritizing competitive contests against Democrats in key states. McConnell prioritized a minority conference he could control instead of a majority that wouldn’t obey him.
The end result was another term for Schumer to preside over a majority in the upper chamber determined to usher in a new wave of radical legislation including billions more for a proxy war in Ukraine. Despite McConnell repeatedly putting Democrats above Republicans, only 10 Republicans voted to remove him from the very top of GOP leadership.
While McConnell plots ways to conduct damage control, House Republicans are moving forward with measures to reclaim security at the southern border. House Republicans are expected to vote on impeaching Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas on Tuesday for years of violating his oath to fulfill the administration’s constitutional obligation to provide security along the border.
On Monday, the House Rules Committee approved two articles of impeachment for a full chamber vote on the House floor. Mayorkas is charged with “Willful and Systemic Refusal to Comply With the Law” and “Breach of the Public Trust.” If impeached, Mayorkas would become the first principal cabinet official to face trial in the Senate since 1876.
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