McConnell Rips Dems For Refusal To Link ‘Real Border Security’ To Other Challenges
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) speaks to reporters after a closed-door lunch meeting with Senate Republicans at the U.S. Capitol October 24, 2023 in Washington, DC
(Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) said Democrats appear to be espousing “cynical, short-sided politics” in a feud over addressing the southern border crisis.

In Senate floor remarks on Monday, McConnell delivered a retort of sorts to Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) after the New York Democrat issued a warning to Republicans who hope to link national security funds to U.S. border security reforms.

“Unfortunately, Senate Democrats have already suggested they want to condition urgent resources for one of our top security priorities on not addressing another one,” McConnell said. “Apparently, our colleagues are considering putting support for Israel on the chopping block unless we promise not to fix the border crisis they helped create.”

McConnell added that “this sort of cynical, short-sighted politics has denied the American people real border security too many times” and emphasized that he believes the “challenges facing America are connected. And the time to address them — each of them — is now.”

After rejecting a House bill to offset $14.3 billion in aid for Israel in its war with Hamas by slashing the same amount of funds meant for the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), Schumer announced on Sunday that he aims to have the Senate consider President Joe Biden’s request for roughly $106 billion in funds for Israel, Ukraine, Taiwan, border security, and more “as soon as the week of December 4th.”

The “biggest holdup” to the supplemental national security package, Schumer argued, is the “insistence” by Republicans to link aid to Ukraine, which is fighting against Russian invaders, to “partisan” U.S. border security policy.

“This has injected a decades old, hyper-partisan issue into overwhelmingly bipartisan priorities,” Schumer said. “Democrats stand ready to work on common-sense solutions to address immigration, but purely partisan hard-right demands, like those in H.R. 2, jeopardize the entire national security supplemental package.”

In the House, Speaker Mike Johnson (R-LA) has signaled openness to funding national security concerns raised by the Biden administration, including more money for the Ukraine defense effort, as long as border security is also addressed.

Meanwhile, Senate Republicans have said they are drawing elements from H.R. 2, which the GOP-led House passed earlier this year, to develop a proposal that includes bumping up pay for border agents, resuming construction of a border wall, asylum reform, and parole reform.

McConnell thanked his GOP colleagues for their efforts and touted how Senate Republicans “have been laser-focused on actually fixing our broken asylum process, not just pouring more money into a system that’s simply not working.”

“Our Democratic colleagues would do well to take these efforts seriously,” McConnell said. “The bottom line is simple: We don’t have the luxury of addressing glaring threats to our national security one at a time. Crises don’t solve themselves just because Washington can’t muster the political will to address them.”

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