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PBS NewsHour Backs Biden in Blame Game on ‘Incredibly Consequential’ Border Bill

pbs-newshour-backs-biden-in-blame-game-on-‘incredibly-consequential’-border-bill
PBS NewsHour Backs Biden in Blame Game on ‘Incredibly Consequential’ Border Bill

As a controversial border security bill is held up in Congress, President Joe Biden is claiming he’s done all he can to keep the southern border secure, blaming Trump and Republicans in Congress for border woes (“I’ve done all I can do, just give me the power,” etc.). 

Yet even liberally slanted PolitiFact noted Biden used his executive powers to end President Trump’s “Remain in Mexico” program that required some asylum seekers to remain in Mexico while awaiting their U.S. hearings. House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-LA) claimed Biden doesn’t need new authority to decrease illegal border crossings and spelled out how on X.

The PBS NewsHour has consistently ignored those facts to keep the scrutiny spotlight 100% upon Trump and congressional Republicans. Anchor Geoff Bennett on January 29 accused Trump of “trying to tank this agreement, urging the House speaker, Mike Johnson, not to support it.”

After a clip showing Trump saying he found it “a very bad bill” that should be killed, Bennett responded.

Being cynical about Republicans wanting “the issue” is permitted. Being cynical about the Democrats opening the border and liking massive immigration (for political reasons) is forbidden.

On Monday’s NewsHour, anchor Amna Nawaz gushed along with the show’s “Politics Monday” duo of Amy Walter of The Cook Political Report and Tamara Keith of National Public Radio.

Nawaz also interviewed Sen. Chris Murphy (D-CT) on Monday, one of the senators who negotiated the bipartisan border bill, and gave a shout to radical-left members aggrieved accusation of extremism.

On Tuesday, Nawaz lamented the bipartisan border bill may already be a goner because of conservative opposition and congressional reporter Lisa Desjardins could not see the logic:

Desjardins quoted the president.

Whatever Trump’s purely political aims may be, the actual sitting president can make moves to help secure the border. Biden simply prefers to blame Trump and the GOP during an election year, with the eager help of the mainstream media.

These segments were brought to you in part by taxpayers like you.

PBS NewsHour

2/5/24

7:40:39 p.m. (ET)

Amna Nawaz: Amy, what this bill proposes is incredibly consequential, one of the biggest pieces of legislation for immigration in three decades in this country. The fact that the president was willing to go as far as he was, what does that say to you?

Amy Walter, The Cook Political Report: Well, I think it says that Democrats know, including the president, how problematic this issue is for their party going into an election year.

What I find even more interesting, and it’s going to be a really interesting test for the issue of immigration, is next week. There’s a special election in a congressional district. This is George Santos’ seat on Long Island.

The issue of immigration, not surprisingly, is playing a starring role with the Democrat there taking a position that sounds very much like Joe Biden, talking about being able to have more border security, supporting this plan that just was released by the Senate.

The Republican candidate and Republicans in general attacking the plan, she has not supported the plan, and attacking the Democrats, including this one, as being part of the open border party. In other words, by the time next Tuesday comes around, and by Wednesday, when we have the results of the election, we will have at least our first, our very first test for whether this issue and the way Democrats are talking about it, the way Republicans are talking about it, which side can claim some sort of political victory.

Again, it’s a special, so we can’t draw too many conclusions, but we will really get a sense for whether or not, for example, if Republicans lose, this strategy of just blaming everything on Biden may not work. Tam, how are you looking at this? I mean, Republicans have probably their best shot at immigration reform. They have been clamoring for it for years.

Tamara Keith: Right.

Amna Nawaz: If this fails to go through because they’re under pressure from President Trump, does that blow back on them from their base?

Tamara Keith: Not from their base. I don’t think it would blow back on them from their base.

I mean, there is this argument that if this is the crisis they say it is, that it has to be dealt with right now — and this is an argument that you’re hearing from people like James Lankford. If it has to be dealt with right now, then why wait until after the election? Why wait until, in theory, Trump is in office? And then you might still have a divided government, and you might not get this.

So you’re still — you’re — at the best-case scenario, you’re pushing this a year out, and worst-case scenario potentially way more gridlock. But Trump has made it abundantly clear that he does not want this. He was back out on the air today saying it’s terrible, calling it amnesty, all of these things that it isn’t.

But it is a compromise. It is not the bill that former President Trump would want to sign. It’s not the bill that the speaker of the House would author. But it is something that, in theory, if it actually could get to a floor vote, which it may not get in the Senate and it is even less likely to get in the House, it is something that could pass.

It would be sort of a coalition of moderates and national security hawks, and it’s a random coalition. You would lose all the people on the left and on the far right, but it could potentially pass. It may not get a chance to have that audition.

PBS NewsHour

2/6/24

7:16:58 p.m. (ET)

Amna Nawaz: The Senate border compromise unveiled fewer than 48 hours ago has already hit a legislative wall.

Senate Republicans today announced they will block the long-negotiated proposal that would address the border crisis and provide aid to Ukraine and Israel. The bill drew sharp opposition from House Republicans, who spent much of today debating whether to impeach the homeland security secretary.

Congressional correspondent Lisa Desjardins and our team have been working sources in both chambers. She joins us now live to report on where things stand.

Lisa, this bill has not even been debated. The debate hasn’t even begun over the border deal. Republicans are blocking it already. Why is that? And also how final is that block?

Lisa Desjardins: This is a real moment of logical disconnect.

It does seem that the votes technically are there to open up debate on this bill, but when Senate Republicans met behind closed doors last night and today, they decided they would not support actually opening up this bill. There are a few reasons for that, and part of it has to do with the pressure on them over the border.

A lot of it has to do with election-year politics. There is a debate still over the roots, of course, of the border crisis itself, but when it comes to the reasons that this bill offering a solution was pulled, Republicans today looked at each other and sort of blamed each other for it.

Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI): We wanted to secure the border. That is why we are voting no. This does more harm than good, and that’s not James Lankford’s fault. That’s Leader McConnell’s fault.

Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY): Things have changed over the last four months, and it’s been made perfectly clear by the speaker that he wouldn’t take it up even if we sent it to him. And so I think that’s probably why most of our members think we ought to have opposition.

Rep. Mike Johnson (R-LA): They did not send us a border security measure. They didn’t. They sent us a supplemental funding proposal that has immigration reform, but not real border security reform, and so that’s why it’s a nonstarter.

Lisa Desjardins: A waterfall of blame here, some blaming McConnell, some blaming the speaker, the speaker blaming the Senate.

But, clearly, there is something else at work here. Democrats, for their part, including President Biden, say what happened is much more simple.

Joe Biden, President of the United States: All indications are this bill won’t even move forward to the Senate floor. Why? A simple reason: Donald Trump. Because Donald Trump thinks it’s bad for him politically. He’d rather weaponize this issue than actually solve it.

Lisa Desjardins: Now, there is not a plan B for either how to deal with the border crisis or for Ukraine funding. The House tonight may take a vote on a separate bill on Israel funding. That may not pass. So we’re not clear what happens on any of these issues, if there can be progress on any of them in coming days or weeks.

Amna Nawaz: Lisa, meanwhile, as we mentioned earlier, a rare vote planned in the House today to impeach the Department of Homeland Security secretary, Alejandro Mayorkas. Where does that stand?

Lisa Desjardins: Amna, this is incredibly close.

I am speaking to you at the exact second that we’re waiting to see if House Republicans even bring up this vote. They have teed it up. This is the previous vote closing out now. They are expected to bring up this impeachment vote next.

But I have to tell you, from my reporting Amna, I don’t think House Republicans have the vote, the majority vote, to pass it. As we have said on this program, there is an incredibly narrow margin in the House for Republicans. They can lose only two members and pass things with only Republican votes.

We know of at least two members who are against this. And, today, the National Fraternal Order of Police came out with a letter saying Alejandro Mayorkas in their view has actually helped things, that he is someone who respects law and order.

Now those Republicans who want to impeach him say instead that Mayorkas has had a willful disregard for federal law. And, indeed, they say he lied to Congress as well. Mayorkas denies that. He says this is political.

A real test for House Republicans in a major effort tonight. We should know in the next hour or so what happens.

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