The legislation includes $20.2 billion for US border security and a myriad of immigration policy changes agreed to by Democratic and Republican negotiators

The bipartisan border security bill is already facing existential risk as the amount of Republicans speaking against it continues to increase.

NBC News reported that GOP senators left a closed-door meeting anticipating that the 25 votes that negotiators intend to get to move forward with the bill, part of a broader package that includes aid for Israel and Ukraine, won't be there on Wednesday, the projected date of the vote.

"I would anticipate Wednesday the cloture vote does not pass," said Republican Senator James Lankford, the party's leading negotiator. "People are saying, 'Hey, I need a lot more time to be able to go through this.'"

As opposition to the Wednesday vote continued to grow, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell gave senators the green light to oppose the Wednesday vote (a procedural motion toward debating the legislation) and continue discussing potential changes.

The decision has been met with criticism from Democrats, while high-ranking House Republicans have already anticipated their staunch opposition to the bill.

"Just gobsmacked. I've never seen anything like it. They literally demanded specific policy, got it, and then killed it," said Democratic Senator Brian Schatz, echoing the message given by many of his party colleagues.

The bill received a significant endorsement on Monday: the labor union representing the U.S. Border Patrol agents. Concretely, the National Border Patrol Council said the bill would "drop illegal border crossings nationwide and will allow our agents to get back to detecting and apprehending those who want to cross our border illegally and evade apprehension."

"While not perfect, the Border Act of 2024 is a step in the right direction and is far better than the current status quo," Brandon Judd, president of the council, said in the statement. "This is why the National Border Patrol Council endorses this bill and hopes for its quick passage."

The message gains more significant when considering that the group endorsed former President Donald Trump in 2020 and has repeatedly criticized the current administration's handling of the border.

However, former President Trump has repeatedly spoken against the bill, saying explicitly that the party shouldn't do any deal "at all, unless we get EVERYTHING."

Moreover, high-ranking Republicans in the House echoed the sentiment, with Speaker Mike Johnson saying that the bill is "even worse than we expected." "If this bill reaches the House, it will be dead on arrival," he added, repeating a phrase he had already used even before the language of the bill was released.

Mike Johnson AFP

House Majority Leader Steve Scalise and House GOP conference chair Elise Stefanik made similar comments, with the former saying that the bill "will NOT receive a vote in the House" and the latter that it is an "absolute non-starter."

House Republicans presented a standalone bill providing $17.6 billion in aid to Israel (sidestepping Ukraine aid and the border bill), but the Biden administration strongly opposed it and said that the president would veto it if it reaches his desk.

In a Monday statement, the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) said the bill, which is backed by House of Representatives Republicans, is "another cynical political maneuver."

"The Administration spent months working with a bipartisan group of Senators to reach a national security agreement that secures the border and provides support for the people of Ukraine and Israel, while also providing much-needed humanitarian assistance to civilians affected by conflicts around the world," OMB said in the Monday statement.

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