As Democrats frantically push to pass their exorbitant $1.7 trillion spending bill, they hit a major roadblock on Wednesday night due to the longstanding dispute over immigration.
Republicans and Democrats had previously been negotiating a compromise that would allow some votes on amendments to the spending bill, in exchange for GOP agreement to allow an earlier vote on the bill.
However, Democrats refused to allow a vote on an amendment proposed by Senator Mike Lee, a Republican from Utah, which sought to maintain the Title 42 policy under which millions of immigrants have been turned away at the border in order to limit the spread of COVID-19.
This policy is expected to expire in the near future, causing concern among Republicans, border states, and others that the immigration crisis could become even worse.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, a Democrat from New York, admitted that the votes are not yet there to pass the bill. Without an agreement, Schumer said he would abandon the idea of a faster vote in exchange for amendments and instead set up a vote by Friday.
This delay is significantly later than Democrats had hoped to pass the bill, partly due to concerns about an approaching winter storm that has lawmakers eager to return home.
If the deal falls through, lawmakers may be forced to pass a short-term spending bill for a few weeks, which is what House Republicans have been advocating for. With more leverage in the next Congress, these Republican lawmakers believe they can shape the spending bill to better reflect their values and priorities.
This outcome could put certain proposals in the $1.7 trillion bill, such as nearly $45 billion for Ukraine and increased funding for defense and non-defense items, at risk.
It is outrageous that Democrats are prioritizing easing immigration rules over funding the federal government and ensuring the safety and security of our border.
Their stubborn refusal to allow a vote on Senator Lee’s amendment is a clear indication that they care more about pandering to special interest groups than serving the best interests of the American people.
It is time for Democrats to put aside their partisan politics and work with Republicans to pass a responsible spending bill that benefits all Americans.