Democrats move closer to giving GOP border vote as price for Covid aid


“I’m old school,” Durbin said. “Amendments on the floor are part of the mission. And now we have people who are afraid of all the amendments on both sides. And I think that really takes this place away.

Still, he and Murray said the decision ultimately rests with Majority Leader Chuck Schumer. The Democratic leader has called the GOP push ‘alien’ and backs the Biden administration’s decision to end the deportation policy known as Title 42, following a finding from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Asked about a Title 42 vote on Tuesday, Schumer reiterated that Republicans “shouldn’t block Covid legislation,” adding that “we don’t even know if they want to pass it.” He said once the House passes a pandemic relief package, “we will do everything we can to get the Covid legislation passed.”

Democrats aren’t sure if they could reject an amendment on the issue that requires 60 votes to pass, but Murray said she supports holding a vote to unstick the Senate floor: ‘All I know , is that we need to get Covid funding.”

Biden’s decision to end politics divides the Democratic caucus. Several vulnerable incumbents have called on Biden to reverse course on the removal of border restrictions, pushing bipartisan legislation instead. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Arizona) and James Lankford (R-Okla.) Who are delaying the lifting of migration limits and demanding that the administration have a plan in place to deal with an anticipated increase in border crossings.

While the administration last month sought to assuage those concerns by releasing a memo on its plan, some Democratic senators have deemed that insufficient.

Democratic supporters of easing the Covid-related immigration restriction don’t want to see the Senate pass a GOP amendment that’s likely to pass, given their own party members’ interest in re-election as well as those purple states. In a 50-50 Senate, Democrats could only lose 9 of their members to vote against any Title 42 amendment at a 60-vote threshold. Republicans could also push for a simple majority threshold on the amendment with the Senate congressman.

“It’s not my decision. It’s the leader’s decision. But title 42 has nothing to do with the coronavirus [aid]and from my point of view, if the Republicans want to gamble with the health security of the country, they should pay the price,” said Sen. Bob Menendez (DN.J.), who warned that Democrats should not fall in what he called the Republicans. “Political trap”.

He also predicted that Democrats would likely lose a Senate immigration vote.

Minority Leader Mitch McConnell has made it clear that Senate Republicans will insist on an amendment vote before agreeing to move forward on a Covid relief package, even if the courts delay the decision of the Biden administration ahead of his scheduled May 23 reversal of policy. But Democratic aides warned it was unclear whether giving the GOP a vote would be enough to convince 10 Republicans to join the biggest Covid aid package.

“I think we should vote on the [Title] 42 and I think the White House thinks we should vote on 42,” said Sen. Jon Tester (D-Mont.).

White House spokesman Andrew Bates said in a statement, “We do not believe funding for critical hits and medicine for the American people should be slowed by unrelated measures.”

Still, for some Democratic senators, the vote on border policy is inevitable.

“Whether we do it or not, I think we’re going to do it,” said Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.). “I am a big believer that there should be amendment votes on bills. So whether or not this is my favorite amendment… I think they’re going to say ‘Hey, if you want to have a Covid bill, we want to have a vote on this’… That’s how it is I’ve been seeing him for a while.


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