Speaker Johnson’s Big Test: He Must Block Senate’s Border Deal. He Probably Will
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The Senate is set to unveil a border deal, but Donald Trump and conservatives are up in arms over it [Trump weighs in on border security deal, adding new pressure to Republicans in Congress, by Riley Beggin, USA TODAY, January 21, 2024].

Rather than hold firm in seeking strong concessions, the GOP’s Senate negotiators appear poised to deliver a terrible deal that would increase legal immigration and do nothing to stop Joe Biden’s Great Replacement Invasion of illegal aliens. Thankfully, House Republicans are pushing back hard. Speaker Mike Johnson, however, is the wild card. He has indicated he would reject a bad deal from the Senate, but has been less committed to a firm “No” in recent days. Pressure is mounting on him from both sides. What Johnson decides will make his legacy. The speaker can hold the line, or capitulate to the Treason Lobby and betray the Historic American Nation. I think he’ll hold the line.

The Immigration Accountability Project leaked the proposals discussed in the talks last week on Twitter. The group reported that the deal would:

1) Increase green cards by 50,000 annually [Green cards are already at historically high levels.]

2) Work permits for adult children of H-1B holders

3) Immediate work permits to every illegal alien released from custody

4) Taxpayer funded lawyers to certain UACs and mentally incompetent aliens

5) Expulsion authority for a limited number of days ONLY if encounters exceed 5k/day over a seven-day period

6) Restricts parole for those who enter without authorization between ports of entry

This would be a horrible deal and make all Republican talks over the border worthless.

Senate Republicans up to now have held a pretty tough line. They’ve demanded immigration reforms in exchange for Ukraine funding. They never budged on that matter. Despite Democrat attempts to solely fund Ukraine, Republicans didn’t bite. The GOP pledged that the only thing they would give Democrats is money for the war-torn Eastern European country. The pledge held at the end of 2023, with even squishes like Lindsey Graham, Mitt Romney, and John Cornyn backing it.

But the hardline appears to have weakened in the New Year. The lead negotiator for Republicans is Oklahoma Sen. James Lankford, a bad choice. Recall that Lankford tried to push President Trump to import more refugees. In 2020, he tried to get an Amnesty for illegal agricultural workers. He’s also tried to sneakily find ways to increase immigration and reward illegals.

Lankford denies that the bill’s leaked version is the final draft. His allies have cautioned conservatives to wait for the final text before making up their minds. But they have done little to soothe the anxieties of immigration patriots [James Lankford Urges GOP Patience as He Tries to Solve Border ‘Rubik’s Cube,’ by Lindsay Wise, Michelle Hackman, and Adolfo Flores, Wall Street Journal, January 15, 2024].

If the leaked version is even half-right, it’s worse than no deal at all. It would effectively legalize many of the illegals already here (with work permits and such) and increase legal immigration, already at historic highs. The enforcement mechanisms do not compensate for this massive betrayal.

Traitor Joe Biden’s goal, of course, is to keep the invasion going to import new Democrat voters. Thus, he offered new legal pathways to would-be illegals—whether through parole or CBP One Mobile application—and pretended he was trying to stop the deluge he invited. That didn’t happen, of course. Though border encounters have slowed slightly in the last few weeks, record numbers of illegals have poured into the country.

The Senate proposal is even worse because it would not only invite illegals to stay through work permits but also offer tens of thousands of new green cards. While Biden’s legal paths were only temporary, the new proposal makes them more permanent, the strategic objective of the invasion. The plan also keeps H-1B holders and their families in the country, even though they have nothing to do with the invasion and their sole role is to take American jobs.

If Senate Republicans accept this deal without major changes, they would demonstrate that their improvement on immigration was all a ruse. In the end, they’re looking to sell out America.

But it’s not all bad news. If the deal that’s released is largely the same as what’s been leaked, the House will never vote for it. Opposition to the bill has come from all over, and Trump, who looks to be the party’s presidential nominee. “I do not think we should do a Border Deal, at all, unless we get EVERYTHING needed to shut down the INVASION of Millions & Millions of people, many from parts unknown, into our once great, but soon to be great again, Country!” Trump posted on Truth Social. He added that he knows Speaker Johnson will only accept a deal that’s “perfect.” Some House conservatives, such as Marjorie Taylor Greene, have threatened to oust Johnson if he tries to impose a bad border-Ukraine deal on them [Johnson feels heat from Trump, conservatives to reject Senate border deal, by Emily Brooks, The Hill, January 18, 2024].

For his part, Johnson has said he opposes the deal as it stands. When the leak emerged, he quoted it on X and answered: “Absolutely not.” He privately told House Republicans last weekend that his stance on the border is the House-passed HR 2. HR 2 would mandate e-Verify, restore Remain in Mexico, tighten asylum rules, restrict Biden’s use of his parole power, and build the wall. Most importantly, it offers no concessions to Democrats—just border security.

Johnson also told Republicans in the private meeting that they probably won’t be able to resolve the border crisis until a Republican is in the White House again. That indicates the lack of faith they have in Democrats to address this issue seriously [On a border deal, it’s Johnson vs. McConnell, by Andrew Desiderio and Jake Sherman, Punchbowl News, January 15, 2024].

But Johnson is feeling intense pressure from the other side as well. The Speaker was summoned to the White House on Wednesday for a meeting with the president and other congressional leaders. The purpose was to make Johnson see the “urgency” of passing funding for Ukraine and that he should accept what’s offered on the border. The House Speaker told reporters he stuck to his original position that the border must be the top priority and any deal must be “transformative.” That statement should have tossed cold water on the deal’s chances, but Democrats and Senate Republicans came out of the meeting feeling optimistic about the proposal’s chances. Mitch McConnell told reporters that the House should expect a bill next week [Johnson Casts Doubt on Border Deal to Unlock Ukraine Aid, Defying Biden, by Karoun Demirjian and Erica L. Green, New York Times, January 17, 2024].

Senate Republicans, such as Lindsey Graham, claim this is the best deal Republicans will ever get even under a Trump presidency. “To get this kind of border security without granting a pathway to citizenship is really unheard of. So if you think you’re going to get a better deal next time, in ’25, if President Trump’s president, Democrats will be expecting a pathway to citizenship for that,” Graham said this week [Senate Republicans warn House they won’t get a better immigration deal under Trump, by Sahil Kapur and Syedah Asghar, NBC, January 17, 2024].

That’s absurd. A Republican president can do many of these things on his own without Congress’s help. Trump can stop granting parole, restrict asylum rules, and stop the  CBP One Mobile App with Executive Orders. Republicans wouldn’t need a deal as much if there were a president willing to enforce basic immigration law. Indeed, Biden can stop the invasion he invited, Johnson told Laura Ingraham, with “executive action.”

The war of words highlights the growing divide between Senate and House Republicans. While it’s notable Senate Republicans don’t want to put a formal Amnesty in the deal, they’re still not pushing a tough enough line to stop Biden’s invasion. They still haven’t gotten over their old ways. Meanwhile, House Republicans are demonstrating that they will fight hard to get serious immigration reforms. A substantial percentage of the House caucus is committed to immigration patriotism. It’s a shame the sentiment isn’t as strong in the Senate.

Some Democrats want to tempt Johnson into the deal. They promise they will help him withstand a motion to vacate from House conservatives if he agrees to it. This would keep Johnson as House Speaker, but alienate him from his party and likely Trump [Dems float a trade: Ukraine-border deal for protecting Johnson, by Rachael Bade, Politico, January 19, 2024]. So that probably won’t happen.

Progressives aren’t even sold on the rumored Senate proposal, and they might join forces with conservatives to shoot it down. They don’t want any border security or immigration enforcement at all. Then Johnson’s deal with moderate Democrats would all be for nothing [The border deal’s forgotten problem: Progressives, by Daniela Diaz and Ursula Perano, Politico, January 17, 2024].

The good news for immigration patriots: Johnson will most likely make the right call. He can’t afford not to. He alienated many House conservatives last week with his support of a continuing resolution to fund the government until March. He cannot afford to upset them again so soon.

It only took a few Republicans to oust Kevin McCarthy from the speakership. Johnson knows that the same could happen to him. Republicans thought he should’ve used the continuing resolution to push for HR 2 and other conservative demands, but he didn’t do so. He’s now on a short leash with his own caucus [House conservatives press Mike Johnson to attach border security to Senate funding bill, by Cami Mondeaux and Reese Gorman, Washington Examiner, January 18, 2024].

Johnson’ recent posts on X don’t sound like they came from a man ready to accept the deal. After the meeting with Biden on Wednesday, Johnson zinged him in an X post: “If only the President focused on our sovereignty first….”

On Friday, he pinned the invasion on Biden: “No, Mr. President, your policies DID create this crisis,” he replied to Biden’s pretending otherwise. “Here are 64 times you and your administration undermined America’s border security.”

My take: If Trump remains opposed to the bill, then Johnson will kill it in the House. Otherwise Trump could get enough House members to oust him if the Speaker. And Trump is incentivized to oppose any deal because it would count as a win for his 2024 opponent, muddy his campaign message of being against the Swamp, and alienate his own base.

While all the Senate deal’s details remain to be seen, they will probably fall far short of expectations. It’s disgraceful that Senate Republicans would agree to such a raw deal. But we can reasonably expect the House to reject any such sellout. Speaker Johnson’s political career depends on it.

Washington Watcher II [Email him] is an anonymous DC insider.

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