WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:
- Two prominent Senate Democrats say some of them are open to giving Republicans a vote on Title 42.
- The Trump-era policy, which limits asylum at the U.S.-Mexico border, is set to end on May 23.
- Senate Dems are floating a possible deal with the GOP in exchange for pushing a COVID aid package.
Senate Democrats have floated a possible deal to give Republicans a vote on Title 42 — a public health directive implemented by the Trump administration to allow the barring and expulsion of migrants at the U.S.-Mexico border during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Top Senate Democrats Dick Durbin from Illinois and Senator Patty Murray from Washington have said there was a growing openness to a deal with GOP senators on Title 42. The Biden administration is set to lift the asylum limits on May 23.
A possibility of a bipartisan deal would allow for Republicans to reverse the immigration policy’s scheduled termination and would also allow for the stalled $10 billion COVID aid package to push forward.
“Most of the Democrats are prepared — they know how they are going to vote,” said Sen. Durbin, the No. 2 Senate Democrat.
Republicans have raised concern that ending Title 42 will create a surge in border crossings. In early April, a group of Republican senators said they would stall the COVID aid package until there’s a vote to reinstate the border policy.
Durbin and Murray told Politico that a deal may be critical so that Republicans do not attempt to oppose other bills and legislative measures important to Democrats.
“I’m old-school. Amendments on the floor, it’s part of the assignment. And now we have people scared to death of all amendments on both sides. And I think that really is taking away from this place,” Durbin told Politico.
Republicans are not the only ones against the administration’s plan to end Title 42 as some Senate Democrats, particularly those from border states, are also opposed to the idea.
Democratic Senator Mark Kelly of Arizona told Newsweek last month that he had voiced his concerns to the White House about lifting Title 42.
“Well, there’s no plan right now, and that’s a big concern of mine. I’ve told the White House, ‘You don’t have a plan,’ and same thing with regards to the secretary of Homeland Security,” Kelly said.
White House press secretary Jen Psaki was asked Tuesday if President Biden would agree with a vote that could possibly block the termination of Title 42 in exchange for votes on COVID funds.
Title 42 restrictions “should not be holding up funding that’s necessary to save the lives of Americans. But again, those are ongoing discussions in Congress at this point,” Psaki answered.