Whereas the House is pursuing partisan "solutions" to the border mess, the Senate decided to try a bipartisan solution. This is not working, either.
As we noted yesterday, the Senate bill was in deep trouble as soon as Donald Trump came out against it, and started threatening vengeance against any Republican who votes for it. Two additional developments since then have left the bill with one foot in the grave and the other on a banana peel.
First, a group of Republican senators announced that they will block the procedural motion that Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) is supposed to bring up for a vote today. That means the bill cannot advance, at least not until the blocking senators change their minds.
But that brings us to the second development: They are not going to change their minds, and the person in the best position to know that is sure of it. We refer, of course, to Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), who has spent considerable political capital on this bill. During his weekly press conference, he admitted that the bill "will not become law."
Tuesday's developments have all sorts of implications. To start, the modern-day Republican Party has left itself unable to get anything done. If a Republican tries to work out something bipartisan, as Sens. James Lankford (R-OK) and Chris Murphy (D-CT) did, it not only goes down in flames, but then the member ends up with Republicans loudly calling for their head. Lankford is going to spend months or years trying to make up for the damage done to himself here, just as Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) did when HE tried to work out a bipartisan immigration bill a few years ago. As to , members of his conference, led by Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), are demanding that he step down as minority leaderMcConnell.
Meanwhile, Republican members of both chambers are free to pursue highly partisan legislation, like the articles of impeachment against Alejandro Mayorkas, but such legislation has no chance of going anywhere, and often it can't even get the full support of the Republican conference. If a party can't achieve anything with bipartisan legislation, and it can't achieve anything with partisan legislation, then what else is there?
Another implication of all these legislative failures is that Ukraine, Israel and Taiwan continue to twist in the wind. Will they eventually get some money from the U.S.? It's hard for us to imagine that the members of Congress will allow them to go without, particularly in an election year. However, it's also hard for us to imagine what approach can get a majority of votes in both the House and the Senate, along with Joe Biden's signature.
And finally, yesterday's events have potentially given Joe Biden a political cudgel, if he chooses to use it. Democratic insiders believe that if the President hits the Republicans, over and over, for their failures on immigration, and reminds people, over and over, that Donald Trump is behind it all, that some serious political points can be scored. That said, Biden is surely worried about alienating some of his Latino/progressive voters. Further, every bit of breath spent on border stuff is not being spent on, say, abortion or threats to democracy. So, it is unclear exactly how frequently and with what amount of force Biden will choose to wield this cudgel. (Z)