Biden tells Congress to 'show some backbone' as border-Ukraine deal fails

President Biden on Tuesday called the border struggle a challenge to former President Donald J. He took it directly to Trump, blaming his predecessor and a persuasive challenger for torpedoing a bipartisan immigration deal from bad politics at the expense of national security.

After several months of forced weighing, Mr. Biden called on congressional Republicans to “show some backbone” and Mr. He called for a stand against Trump. But he effectively conceded that the months-negotiated deal was doomed and vowed to make it a campaign issue against the opposition.

“All indications are that this bill will not even make it to the Senate floor,” said Mr. Biden said in a televised address from the White House. “Why? A simple reason. Donald Trump. “Because Donald Trump thinks it's bad for him politically.”

President Mr. Trump has said he would rather weaponize the problem than actually solve it and is leaning on Republicans to block it. “It looks like they're caving,” he added. “Obviously, they owe it to the American people to show some backbone and do what they know is right.”

The decision, which rejected a bipartisan border deal that Republicans had previously sought, not only shut down the immigration debate, but also tied up $118 billion in security aid to Ukraine and Israel. America's allies were dealt with.

The impasse raised questions about whether and how Congress could salvage the emergency aid package. Speaker Mike Johnson sought to provide aid to Israel alone by providing $17.6 billion separately.

The result was a vivid portrait of Congress dysfunction. Instead of continuing the border crackdown they once sought, House Republicans accused Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro N. All day they tried – and failed – to indict the Mayorgas. Even a few Republicans called the move a stunt, and Mr. Johnson was unable to muster a majority for impeachment in an embarrassing setback.

The confusion and discord on Capitol Hill, punctuated by the president's sharp speech at the White House, underscored how much has come to shape the debate in Washington nine months before this year's presidential election. Indeed, two presidents, one incumbent and one former, are clashing on some of the most pressing issues facing America, each competing to set the direction for the country before voters make their choice in November.

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For most of his presidency, Mr. Mr. Trump has refrained from using Trump's name, referring to him only as “the ex-boyfriend” or other euphemisms. In a speech on Tuesday.

An initial draft of the address was written by Mr. The president privately complained that Trump was not doing enough to attack him and wanted to toughen it up, according to a senior administration official who spoke on condition of anonymity. He and assistants tested the tough phrases just before going before the cameras to deliver it over an hour later than originally planned.

“I understand that the former president is actively trying to stop this bill because he is not interested in solving the border problem,” said Mr. Biden said. “He wants a political issue to run against me.”

“It's up to the Republicans to decide,” he added. “Who are they serving? Donald Trump or the American people?

He called the bipartisan deal “a win for America” ​​because it combines “very fair, humane reforms” with “tough reforms to secure the border” in immigration law. The Wall Street Journal's editorial page, which endorsed Mr Trump in 2016 and 2020, cited support from organizations generally favorable to Republicans, including the American Chamber of Commerce and the National Border Patrol Council.

“If this bill fails, I want to be absolutely clear about something,” Mr. Biden said. “The American people are going to know why it failed. I will take this issue to the country.

The reason, he said, was fear of the Republican frontrunner. “They're afraid of Donald Trump,” Mr. Biden said. “Every day from now until November, the American people are going to learn that the only reason the border is not secure is Donald Trump and his MAGA Republican friends.”

The President is late for the debate. Although he supports bipartisan negotiations, he has largely distanced himself from them privately and has not made a high-profile public push for a deal. Aides said they wanted to avoid complicating negotiations by talking about him. But some Democrats are frustrated that he has yet to play a more prominent role.

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The president's speech was in part aimed at some Democrats who have already criticized provisions in the border bill that would tighten rules for immigrants seeking asylum in the United States. If fellow Democrats vote against the measure, Mr.

After the speech of the President Mr. Mr. Trump “America does not need a 'border' bill that does nothing to stop illegal immigration,” said Mr. Trump's spokeswoman Carolyn Leavitt said in a statement. “We need a president who will use his executive power to close the border. Joe Biden refuses to do it, but President Trump will do it on day one.

Republicans Mr. They have come behind Trump, including measures to tighten border security, but none of the provisions historically pushed by Democrats include granting citizenship to or protecting illegal immigrants already in the country. Previously brought as children.

The law would make it harder for immigrants to claim asylum and speed up their cases, which can now take years. It would expand federal detention centers, hire more asylum officers and border agents, and call for effectively closing the border when the number of immigrants crossing illegally reaches an average of 5,000 a day. Yet right-wing critics complained that it did not go far enough.

“Joe Biden will not enact any new legislation and refuses to use the tools he already has to end this crisis,” Senator John Barrazzo of Wyoming, the No. 3 Republican, said Tuesday. “I cannot vote for this bill. Americans will turn to the upcoming election to end the border crisis.

Senator Mitch McConnell, Republican and Minority Leader of Kentucky, who originally supported the deal, told reporters that his conference had “a very strong debate about whether or not this product could ever become law” and its impact. Mr. Johnson's announcement.

“We have been made clear by the Speaker that this will not become law,” Mr. McConnell said. Asked if he had misread his fellow Republicans, Mr. McConnell said: “I followed the instructions of my conference which insisted that we deal with this in October. It was actually our side that wanted to deal with the border issue. We started it. Obviously with a Democratic president and a Democratic Senate, our negotiators had to deal with them.

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Mr. Johnson cheered. “It could be on life support in the Senate,” he told reporters. “We welcome that development.”

Republicans not only sacrificed border reconciliation, President Vladimir V. Mr. Putin has abandoned Ukraine during his war against Russia. Biden argued.

“We can't walk away now,” he said, wearing a striped tie with the blue and yellow colors of the Ukrainian flag. “That is Putin's gamble. Supporting this bill stands in Putin's favor. Opposition to this bill plays into his hands.

The hard truth, however, is that a once-strong bipartisan consensus on aid to Ukraine remains strong. In an extraordinary letter, a group of US diplomats stationed in the Indo-Pacific region urged congressional leaders on Monday to pass legislation that would include aid to Taiwan, saying America's credibility with its strategic partners is on the line.

For months, many in the White House and abroad have followed conventional wisdom and assumed that the combined will of a handful of like-minded congressional leaders, National Security Council chiefs and the president would be enough to push new funding for Ukraine across the finish line. .

But a quiet GOP voter base is dead set against sending another round of taxpayer money to Ukraine, and Republicans, especially in the slim majority of the House, are flexing their muscles to resist any real movement.

Rep. Matt Gates, Republican of Florida and a Trump ally, took to social media to cheer Tuesday morning after reports indicated there was no clear path to congressional approval of aid to Ukraine and Israel. He quoted a line from the movie “Apocalypse Now”: “I love the smell of napalm in the morning!”

Reporting contributed Katie Rogers, Erica L. Green, Carl Hulse, Karoon Demirjian, Jolan Kanno-Youngs And Michael D. Sheer.

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