IE 11 is not supported. For an optimal experience visit our site on another browser.

Schumer 'hopeful' Senate will pass bipartisan border bill despite opposition from GOP hard-liners

House Republican leadership and hard-right Republicans say they oppose the bill, with Speaker Mike Johnson saying "it will be dead on arrival" if it passes in the Senate.
Get more newsLiveon

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer expressed optimism Monday over a bipartisan bill that seeks to impose stricter immigration and asylum laws, saying he believes it will pass the Senate despite opposition from hard-right Republicans.

“I’m confident — ‘hopeful’ is the right word,” Schumer, D-N.Y., said in an interview on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” when he was asked about the bill’s chances of passing in the Senate. “This is hard. And our Republican senators — we need a bunch of them — are under a lot of pressure from right-wing Trump part of the party.”

Senators released the text of the bipartisan bill Sunday night after months of negotiations. The $118 billion bill, which comes amid record-high crossings at the southern border, includes foreign aid to Israel, Ukraine and Taiwan. Republicans have said they would support aid to those countries only on the condition that it is paired with new policies to restrict U.S. immigration.

The bipartisan package faces opposition from House Republican leadership and other conservatives, including several members of the House Freedom Caucus. Shortly after senators released the text of the bill, Speaker Mike Johnson, R-La., said Sunday night on X that “it will be dead on arrival” if it reaches the House.

Schumer said the bill is a “compromise,” which he added is “the only way you get important things done” in the Senate. He blamed pressure from former President Donald Trump and his allies for the hard-right Republicans’ opposition to the legislation.

“Will the senators drown out the political noise from Trump and his minions and do the right thing for America?” he asked. “It’s a crucial question. History is looking down on every one of us right now.”

Asked what happens next if the bill passes the Senate, Schumer listed groups within the House that he argued it would appeal to.

“First is a big group of hawks in the middle, and they care about funding Ukraine — they always have — and the strategy of Johnson is right now do nothing,” he said. “There’s a large number of pro-Israel people — they care about that. Then there’s a large number of progressive legislators, I’m included, who want to see that Gaza, the people in Gaza, don’t starve and we get that aid to them.

“Plus, there are some who care about Taiwan, and there’s money there to bolster us against China’s aggression there,” he added. “You know, we’re in an aggressive world, and we got a lot of dictators linking up — Russia, China, Iran. If we don’t defend ourselves, we don’t want this to be like 1938.”

Schumer predicted that Johnson will eventually face “huge pressure from within his caucus” to pass the bill if it gets through the Senate.

“Well, he’s saying that now because he hopes his nightmare is we pass it in the Senate," Schumer said about Johnson's opposition. "So he’s doing everything he can to thwart us passing it in the Senate. But once we pass it in the Senate, God willing, I think there’ll be huge pressure from within his caucus and without to get this done.”

“If he put this bill on the floor of this House right now, it would pass," Schumer said. "We’d get a lot of Democratic votes, and we get some good number of Republican votes."

In a joint statement Monday, the top four House Republican leaders — Johnson, Majority Leader Steve Scalise of Louisiana, Majority Whip Tom Emmer of Minnesota and Republican Conference chairwoman Elise Stefanik of New York — said they oppose the bipartisan border bill “because it fails in every policy area needed to secure our border and would actually incentivize more illegal immigration.”

They cited the proposed expansion of work authorizations without also including "critical asylum reforms,” what they said were loopholes in the border shutdown authority that would give Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas “too much discretionary authority,” insufficient limitations on Biden’s parole authority, and the use of taxpayer funds to house migrants in hotels through a Federal Emergency Management Agency program that provides them with shelter and services.

“Any consideration of this Senate bill in its current form is a waste of time,” they wrote. “It is DEAD on arrival in the House. We encourage the U.S. Senate to reject it.”

Before the Senate released the border bill text, Johnson announced Saturday that the House will vote this week on a stand-alone bill to provide aid to Israel. He defended his move in an interview on NBC News’ “Meet the Press,” denying that he had proposed the stand-alone aid package to kill the compromise deal in the Senate.

“No, we’ve made very clear what the requirements of the House were, and that is to solve the problem at the border,” he said, adding that the House has been “awaiting” action from the Senate.

Johnson also denied that Trump, who opposes the Senate’s immigration deal, influenced his decision to push an Israel bill.

“Of course not. He’s not calling those shots," Johnson said. "I am calling the shots for the House. That’s our responsibility. And I have been saying this far longer than President Trump has."

In a post to Truth Social on Monday morning, Trump urged Republicans to vote against the border bill, which he slammed as “horrendous,” and called for a separate bill that does not link to foreign aid.

“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,” he wrote. “This Bill is a great gift to the Democrats, and a Death Wish for The Republican Party. It takes the HORRIBLE JOB the Democrats have done on Immigration and the Border, absolves them, and puts it all squarely on the shoulders of Republicans. Don’t be STUPID!!!”

Top Senate Republicans have also begun stating their rejection of the bill.

Sen. Steve Daines, R-Mont., a member of GOP leadership as chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, came out against the bill, saying he can’t support the provisions about the border.

“I can’t support a bill that doesn’t secure the border, provides taxpayer funded lawyers to illegal immigrants and gives billions to radical open borders groups. I’m a no,” he wrote on X.

Sens. Ted Cruz of Texas and Mike Lee of Utah also panned the bill and urged their colleagues to vote against it.

“This … is … INSANE," Cruz wrote Sunday night on X. "On Schumer’s Open-Borders Legislation, Republicans shouldn’t just vote no … but HELL NO.”

Lee wrote Sunday night on X that the bipartisan border bill is “even worse than we thought.”

“No one who cares about our border security should support it,” he wrote. “It is a betrayal of the American people.”

Senate Minority Whip John Thune, R-S.D., and Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, a former Republican whip, have not commented publicly on the bill.