The bill to provide aid to Israel, Ukraine, and Taiwan and beef up border security, largely written by Sen. James Lankford (R-OK), was voted down yesterday by Lankford's fellow Republicans. Thanks for the support, guys and gals. The upside of this vote is that Donald Trump is now a happy man. The downside is that he probably won't like the resulting Democratic ads saying that he personally blocked the best chance at improving border security in decades because he wanted a campaign issue, not a solution.
After the vote, Lankford made an angry speech on the Senate floor saying that he was threatened by a "popular commentator" who told him: "If you try to move a bill that solves the border crisis during this presidential year, I will do whatever I can to destroy you." Lankford didn't say who said this to him. Sounds like John Gotti, if not for the fact that he's been dead for 20 years. On the other hand, we do know who said: "This is a very bad bill for his career." That was Donald Trump.
Next up is a different bill that contains the national security aid but not the border funding, which was included at the last minute when Republicans said that they wouldn't vote for the bill without money for increased border security. They got what they asked for and still voted no—because Donald Trump told them to. He owns almost all of them, lock, stock, and barrel. This is essentially the bill the way it was before Republicans demanded it include border security, got what they wanted, and then killed the bill that contained all their requests. Do you have any more questions about why most Americans are so cynical about politics?
Since all of this is about politics now, if Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) wants to do it, he could later bring up the Lankford-Murphy bill again, but this time only the border part of it. In other words, a pure bill to beef up border security and nothing else. Then to rub it in, he could have the Democrats change the rules to require filibusters to be real old-timey Jimmy Stewart type talking filibusters. Can you imagine the PR hit the Republicans would take if one Republican senator after another stood in the well of the Senate reading the Bible or Shakespeare to block a bill whose sole function was to seal the border? And then the cherry on top of the sundae would be for Schumer to cave after a week and say the border bill was dead on account of the Republican filibuster. How would that play with voters for whom sealing the border is issue #1?
Would such a bill pass? Maybe and maybe not. The Republican caucus is in total chaos. Former presidential wannabe Tim Scott (R-SC) said he would oppose a foreign aid-only bill because "we should first secure our southern border" (i.e., the bill the Republicans had just killed). Maybe Biden's original bill could (barely) make it through the Senate but then it would hit a brick wall in the House since Speaker Mike Johnson (R-LA) opposes it. But given how small his majority is and the fact that some Republican members want to support Israel, he could be threatened with a motion to vacate the chair. Anything could happen now.
Yesterday, Schumer said: "Republicans have said they can't pass Ukraine without border. Now they say they can't pass Ukraine with border. Today, I'm giving them a choice. I urge Republicans to take yes for an answer." (V)