Mississippi’s two U.S. senators have both confirmed they will be voting against a border security bill set to hit the floor on Wednesday, joining fellow Republicans in killing the bipartisan legislation introduced earlier this week.
The $118 billion package, which includes critical aid for Israel, Ukraine, and Taiwan along with upping asylum qualifications for those entering the country from the southern border, was brought to the table by Sens. James Lankford (R-Okla.), Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), and Kyrsten Sinema (I-Ariz.) on Sunday night. The package later received approval from both Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) but to no avail as a large group of Republicans joined forces on Tuesday to announce their plan to stop its path to passage.
Sen. Roger Wicker (R-Miss.) released a statement on his decision, saying that while stricter measures are needed along the southern border, he has no faith President Joe Biden and Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas will uphold the regulations included if passed.
“I will be voting no [Wednesday] on proceeding the bill when Senator Schumer brings it to the floor for consideration,” Wicker said. “Senate Democrats have shown they are not willing to agree to a strong border protection proposal. President Biden and Secretary Mayorkas have refused to use the already existing laws to address the border crisis, and I have no confidence that their actions would improve under the proposed legislation.
Mayorkas, who recently survived an impeachment vote led by House Republicans, would play a vital role in the proposed legislation as DHS would be granted the power to “shut down” the border – in the words of Biden – if 4,000 or more migrants are being encountered over a seven-day average.
Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-Miss.) echoed Wicker’s concerns during Wednesday’s episode of The Gallo Show while also calling the package “campaign material” for Biden to make the influx of migrants look lesser as his election for a second term is less than nine months away. Biden’s expected opponent in the general election, former Republican President Donald Trump, has also reportedly encouraged GOP members to vote against the matter.
“I just can’t support this bill because it doesn’t do what we need it to do. It doesn’t go far enough,” Hyde-Smith said, adding that some pieces for Republicans were there but increasing the current administration’s role in border operations was a huge turn-off.
“The administration has proven time and time again that they’re unwilling to enforce existing laws and this bill just had too many loopholes. It fell too short for me to support it, and given the administration’s record, who has any confidence that President Biden or Mayorkas would have ever enforced what was in it that was the good part? No one.”
What’s next regarding a border security bill is unclear at this time. As for further aid to foreign allies, the House failed to approve legislation providing $17.6 billion for Israel on Tuesday evening as Schumer plans to push another package in the Senate for Israel and Ukraine aid once the border bill is declared dead on Wednesday.