Speaker Johnson says McConnell is putting Ukraine before US border

 February 14, 2024

In an exclusive interview with Sirius XM’s Breitbart News Daily on Tuesday, Senator Ron Johnson (R-WI) launched a scathing critique of Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) over what he termed a "debacle" surrounding the recent border bill negotiations.

Johnson accused McConnell of neglecting to include a provision that would tie Ukraine aid to specific border metrics during the negotiations, emphasizing McConnell's prioritization of Ukraine aid over bolstering border security measures.

Johnson's concerns

Johnson advocated for linking funding directly to border performance metrics, suggesting that President Biden should be required to demonstrate consistent reductions in border numbers in exchange for monthly financial allocations.

He asserted that McConnell failed to push for this crucial enforcement mechanism during negotiations, blindsiding him and other lawmakers involved.

The absence of a connection between Ukraine aid and border metrics prompted Johnson and other critics to publicly denounce McConnell's handling of the situation, attributing it to a broader failure in prioritizing border security within the context of the Ukraine deal.

McConnell's mixed priorities

According to Johnson, McConnell's primary focus was securing financial assistance for Ukraine without adequately addressing the pressing issue of border security.

The Senate ultimately passed a $95 billion bill on Tuesday, allocating a significant portion to Ukraine while also earmarking funds for Israel, Taiwan, and other East Asian allies.

Despite previous proposals including provisions for border security funding, opposition from Republicans prevented its inclusion, leading Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) to present a bill devoid of such measures.

Ongoing negotiations

Johnson took issue with the border provisions negotiated by McConnell, alongside Senators James Lankford (R-OK) and Democratic counterparts, arguing that they not only failed to address critical security concerns but also weakened existing presidential authority on border matters.

He warned that the proposed provisions could have allowed for the entry of thousands of illegal immigrants into the country before President Biden could intervene to halt asylum claim processing, potentially exacerbating the existing challenges at the border.

Expressing bewilderment over McConnell's decision to prioritize Ukraine aid over border security, Johnson highlighted the overwhelming public support for stringent border control measures due to their implications for national security and the prevention of illegal activities.

He underscored the urgent need for decisive action on border security, citing the expectations of the American people and the inherent dangers posed by lax border policies.

Johnson's remarks underscore the profound division within the Republican Party regarding priorities in legislative negotiations, particularly concerning issues as complex and politically charged as border security and international aid.

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