Schumer announces Senate to vote this week on previously blocked bipartisan border bill

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, attempting to put political pressure on Republicans, announced Sunday that the chamber will vote this week on a long-negotiated bipartisan border bill that Republicans blocked earlier this year.

The New York Democrat called the legislation “a tough, serious-minded, and – critically, bipartisan – proposal to secure our border” in a “Dear Colleague” letter.

The initial package, which included tough border provisions and foreign aid to US allies, was blocked in February by the Senate amid a torrent of attacks by top House Republicans and former President Donald Trump, who is making the border a central campaign issue in his race for the White House. The Senate passed a separate foreign aid package last month.

“Back in January, the former President urged Congressional Republicans to kill the bipartisan bill, telling the world proudly to ‘blame it on me.’ The American people do not have the luxury of playing partisan blame games. They want bipartisan action to secure our border,” Schumer said in the letter, which did not specify when the bill would be taken up.

Schumer acknowledged that he doesn’t expect all Democrats will support the stand-alone border bill — with some caucus members saying earlier this year the legislation “misses the mark.” Republican leaders have already said they oppose Schumer’s move to revote on the legislation, making it unlikely the bill can secure the 60 votes it would need to advance.

President Joe Biden previously endorsed the border provisions, and while Trump and other Republicans have called it too weak, the bill would have marked a tough change to immigration law and would have given the president far-reaching powers to restrict illegal migrant crossings at the southern border.

The White House and top Democrats have discussed taking more action on the border ahead of the first presidential debate next month, CNN previously reported. Those plans, intended to strengthen the party’s hand on a critical campaign issue ahead of the 2024 election, also potentially include a sweeping executive order limiting migrants’ ability to seek asylum, sources have told CNN.

CNN’s Priscilla Alvarez, MJ Lee, Clare Foran, Morgan Rimmer and Manu Raju contributed to this report.

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