A procedural vote by the U.S. Senate on whether to advance the bipartisan border security bill failed 49-50 on Wednesday evening.
The $118 billion spending bill would have allocated just over $20 billion for border security but also included $60 billion in aid for Ukraine, $14 billion in aid for Israel, and $10 billion for humanitarian aid to Gaza. It needed at least 60 votes to pass.
A group of Senate Republicans were expected to and did block the legislation, believing its border security measures were unsatisfactory. Many had expressed frustration over the “dead” border bill the day before, claiming Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) should have “walked away” from the deal and never let it come to a vote, per Fox News.
U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) had decried McConnell’s leadership on Tuesday, asserting the latter does not take his fellow GOP members’ priorities seriously.
“I think a Republican leader should actually lead this conference and should advance the priorities of Republicans,” Cruz said, according to Fox.
When asked if it was time for McConnell to step down from his leadership position, Cruz replied, “I think it is.”
The bill was negotiated by Sen. James Lankford (R-OK) and received support from Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and the National Border Patrol Council.
Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) also voted against the measure.
“The fact of the matter is we have no confidence, zero confidence, that the Biden administration will enforce the law when it comes to the border,” Cornyn said on the Senate floor, per The Hill.
The bill also met with opposition from Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton and a group of state attorneys general, according to reporting from The Dallas Express.
President Joe Biden took a swing at presidential candidate Donald Trump for the bill’s failure.
“Every day between now and November, the American people are going to know that the only reason the border is not secure is Donald Trump and his MAGA Republican friends,” Biden said.
Trump has criticized Republicans for working on a bipartisan effort that could be used as a political victory by Democrats during an election year that will see dozens of states hold primaries in the coming weeks.
“Only a fool, or a Radical Left Democrat, would vote for this horrendous Border Bill, which only gives Shutdown Authority after 5000 Encounters a day when we already have the right to CLOSE THE BORDER NOW, which must be done. This Bill is a great gift to the Democrats and a Death Wish for The Republican Party,” Trump wrote on Truth Social, according to Newsweek.
Cruz agreed with Trump’s assessment, saying that the border crisis could be averted by restoring the “Remain in Mexico” policy initiated during Trump’s presidency, eliminating “Catch and Release” policies, and resuming construction of the border wall, steps that don’t require legislation and can be acted on by the president.
Cruz was one of 10 GOP senators to oppose McConnell’s election to minority leader last November. On Tuesday, he said that six GOP senators who appeared at a press conference with him supported a change of leadership.
Democrats are now working to advance a funding bill for Ukraine and Israel that does not include border policy changes.
“We will recess until tomorrow and give our Republican colleagues time to figure themselves out,” Schumer said on the Senate floor late Wednesday evening, per CNN. “We’ll be coming back tomorrow at noon, and hopefully that will give the Republicans the time they need. We will have this vote tomorrow.”