GOP Senator Says Dems Are Giving Ground In Border Talks

Oklahoma Republican Senator James Lankford last Sunday suggested that there has been progress between Republican and Democrat lawmakers on a border security bill, The Hill reported.

While appearing on ABC’s “This Week” on December 3, Senator Lankford told host George Stephanopoulos that Congress is “making progress” on border security, noting that President Biden’s requested national security package included funding not just for Israel, Ukraine, and Taiwan, but also for the US border.

Lankford said two days after the White House made its proposal, it also said funding for the border would be a “tourniquet,” adding what the White House needs is a “change in policy.”

In late November, a bipartisan group of senators, which includes Senator Lankford, began meeting to arrive at a consensus on a funding deal that would raise the legal standard for asylum seekers in exchange for additional funding for Ukraine.

However, some Democrats have expressed concern about the direction the border talks are taking, with ten Senate Democrats arguing that the change in asylum laws would “deny lifesaving humanitarian protection for vulnerable people.”

Lankford noted that Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas suggested that the administration is open to changes in immigration policy that would secure the border. He added that this would mean bringing forward a proposal in Congress that reforms how asylum is handled so border officials aren’t “just mass-releasing thousands of people.”

When asked if he would move forward with military aid for Ukraine and Israel without a border deal, Lankford stressed that the package must include funding for both. He explained that it was the request of the White House to include border security with overseas funding and said Congress would need to agree to “do all these things together.”

Lankford added that he believed it was possible to reach a deal by the end of the year.