Senate Vote Demanded By GOP Over Title 42

( Republicans in the Senate are trying to force a vote on keeping a Trump-era immigration policy in place by threatening to not vote for more COVID relief funds.
On Tuesday, the Senate GOP caucus said they wouldn’t vote to support a bipartisan bill that would allocate $10 million more in COVID-19 funding unless they are able to also vote on an included amendment that would keep Title 42 in place.
Title 42 is an immigration policy that was passed back in the 1940s but reinstated under former President Donald Trump on a temporary basis due to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, if nothing is done, it’s set to expire in May.
Trump used Title 42 as a public health measure to keep immigrants from bringing COVID-19 into the United States when they came here illegally. It has been extended a few times, but will expire on May 23 if the Biden administration doesn’t act — and that’s exactly what’s expected to happen.
The omnibus spending package that totaled $1.5 trillion that President Joe Biden signed in mid-March didn’t include the proposed $10 million for COVID-19 support.
Subsequently, a bipartisan bill brokered by Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Republican Utah Senator Mitt Romney was cobbled together to provide funding for COVID-19 testing, vaccines and therapeutics.
But, Republicans in the Senate don’t want to vote in favor of that bill unless they’re able to include an amendment that would extend Title 42. As Mitch McConnell, the leader of the GOP in the Senate, said this week:
“There’s going to have to be an amendment on Title 42 in order to move the bill.”
Senate Republicans on Tuesday blocked the vote that would’ve advanced the bill, and that complicates things since the upper chamber is set to go on recess for two weeks. This move will hopefully show Democrats that the GOP is serious about Title 42.
The number-two Republican in the Senate, John Thune from South Dakota, recently explained:
“I don’t think there are probably 10 Republican votes at the moment for a process that doesn’t at least include an amendment vote on Title 42, perhaps among other amendments. Republicans aren’t wild about the bill anyway, so they feel comfortable digging their heels in.”
Democrats in the Senate are very hesitant to go ahead and include a vote on an amendment that includes Title 42 because it would likely result in the entire bill being voted down in the House, which is led by the liberal party.
That being said, there are some Democratic senators who are also worried about allowing Title 42 to end without having a new plan in place to address the annual spring surge of migrants at the U.S. southern border.
As Mark Kelly, a Democratic senator from Arizona, said recently:
“It’s clear to me after my discussions with the White House and [the Department of Homeland Security] that there is not a plan in place on how to deal with the lifting of Title 42. I’m concerned with folks on the southern border in my state and other states, also the health and safety of the migrants.”