Republican lawmakers in the House are once again at each other’s throats, this time over their efforts to secure hardline border and immigration reform.
On Friday, Rep. Chip Roy (R-Texas) skewered former President Donald Trump — and members of his own party — for failing to secure the border during his own time in office during an interview on Fox Business.
“President Trump failed, along with Republicans … they failed in 2018 to actually move a border security bill to tighten this so that we weren’t dealing with this crisis right now, they failed to build the wall,” Roy said, “this stuff matters, it adds up.”
Chip Roy rips Trump for his failure to secure the southern border as president. pic.twitter.com/OMkPlOcAG0
— Ron Filipkowski (@RonFilipkowski) January 19, 2024
During a heated floor debate on Thursday, Roy also expressed his frustrations with his caucus. “It doesn’t matter who is sitting in the speaker’s seat or who has the majority. We keep doing the same stupid stuff,” he said, lambasting a proposed resolution that would extend government funding through early March. The bill passed and was signed by President Biden on Friday.
Trump has been calling Republicans who support a proposed border deal that is being negotiated in the Senate “stupid,” as a source familiar told Rolling Stone, and complaining that approving the package would hand Biden a victory ahead of the two facing off for the 2024 presidency.
The intra-party squabbles over immigration — and Republicans’ general inability to get anything done despite holding a narrow majority — have escalated in recent days. On Thursday, Rep. Patrick McHenry (R-N.C.), who served as speaker pro tempore in the chaotic weeks following the GOP’s decision to oust former Speaker Kevin McCarthy, delivered some scathing criticism of his colleagues on Thursday.
McHenry told reporters that current Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.) “needs to widen the group of advisers he has” and that “the loudest members of our conference should not dictate the strategic course of a smart majority — especially in the most complicated bits where those loudest voices are least likely to participate in the votes necessary.”
“We will pay the price at the ballot box,” he added. “At this point, we’re sucking wind because we can’t get past the main object in the road […] we need to get the hell out of the way. Cut the best deals we can get and then get on with the political year.”
Similar sentiment has been expressed in the Senate, where Republican leadership has warned the lower chamber that they’re unlikely to get a better deal on immigration, even if Trump wins in 2024.
Regardless, some Republicans remain committed to obstructing any sort of advancement lest it give Democrats the opportunity to gloat. Earlier this month, Rep. Troy Nehls (R-Texas) told CNN that he’s “not willing to do too damn much right now to help a Democrat and to help Joe Biden’s approval rating. …I will not help the Democrats try to improve this man’s dismal approval ratings. I’m not going to do it. Why would I?”
Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) threatened to repeat recent history earlier this week and introduce a motion to vacate against Johnson if he moved forward with Friday’s resolution, on grounds that she opposed providing additional aid to Ukraine and that the package lacked sufficient increased border measures.
On Thursday, Rep. Dan Crenshaw (R-Texas) pushed back on his colleague’s efforts to tank long-coveted, measurable immigration reforms over petty grievances. If they say they “want meaningful border policy changes, and, for whatever reason they come up with, they don’t want it anymore — that’s gonna be a tough position to stand by,” Crenshaw said. “Some people say ‘Oh well Biden wants it now because it’s helpful for him politically.’ Ok. I want border security, that’s what I told my constituents that I would do for them,” he added.
The future of the Senate’s border deal isn’t looking too bright in the lower chamber, but what is abundantly clear is that when it comes to the question of what’s killing Republicans’ ability to advance their immigration — or any — agenda: the call is coming from inside the House.
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