Senate Democratic leaders sacrificed a $10 billion coronavirus spending plan Tuesday because they opposed a draft GOP amendment that would preserve the Title 42 border barrier, which is now scheduled for complete removal by May 23.

The Democrats withdrew the spending bill because the GOP was likely to win an amendment that would direct officials to keep the barrier up.

The barrier is still operating, but President Joe Biden’s border chief is quietly allowing roughly 70,000 migrants through the Title 42 barrier each month.

The GOP amendment is a political problem for Democrats as each Democrat’s no vote could be used in a future election campaign.

If the amendment passes the Senate, then all of the House Democrats would be forced to vote — indirectly — for or against the GOP measure. Those House votes would also be used in the 2022 midterm elections, in which the Democrats’ migration record is expected to be a major drag on Democratic candidates.

The pressure is also splitting House Democrats.

On Tuesday, a top Democrat, Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-MS) told reporters he would support a spending plan that includes the GOP amendment reviving Title 42. “I’m trying to be as straightforward with you as I can be,” he told the surprised reporters. Thompson is the chairman of the House homeland security committee and represents a district where employers are eager to hire cheap migrants instead of local African-Americans. reported on April 5 on the Senate vote:

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell told reporters Tuesday that “there’s going to have to be an amendment on Title 42 in order to move the [spending] bill.” Without agreement among all 100 senators, the Senate will be unable to take up and quickly move the bill this week.


A growing number of Democratic senators are expressing stern opposition to Biden’s lifting border-crossing restrictions, enough that Republicans could win an amendment vote, particularly if it’s at a simple majority. Still, it’s not clear those Democrats would vote to stick Title 42 language into the coronavirus bill, since adding that language would almost surely lead to a dead end in either the House or Biden’s desk.

Among the senators who are protesting the Biden administration’s decision are Democratic Sens. Joe Manchin of West Virginia, Mark Kelly of Arizona, Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona, Catherine Cortez Masto of Nevada and Raphael Warnock of Georgia.

Additional Democrats are zigzagging. For example, Sen. Jon Tester (D-MT), said he would support the removal of Title 42 “if they’ve got a plan.” But agency officials do have a plan — they plan to let all the migrants in to take jobs and homes from Americans.

Without the Title 42 barrier, the migrant inflow could reach 500,000 a month — or roughly three migrants for every two American births — even though Congress’ laws bar the release of migrants into the U.S. or the hiring of illegal migrants.

That open-border inflow would cut ordinary Americans’ wages and drive up their rents, even as many voters tell pollsters that they struggling to keep up with inflation.

The $10 billion spending bill is intended to offset the damage caused by coronavirus disease. But the Title 42 barrier is being lifted because President Joe Biden’s deputies say migrants are no longer a disease threat.

The New York Times noted the contradiction:

“Getting that money replenished is significantly complicated by announcing in the same week that you’re going to determine that Section 42 of this effort to fight this disease is no longer necessary because the disease is no longer the same kind of problem it was,” said Senator Roy Blunt, Republican of Missouri. “It’s clearly a big issue with our members.”

“Everybody sees it as a huge mistake, including a lot of Democrats,” said Sen. John Thune (R-SD), a deputy to Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), a business-backed leader who usually ignores voter protests against migration.

The White House is pushing ahead with plans to open the border to migrants, and the Post reported that White House officials oppose the GOP amendment:

“Title 42 is a public health authority. … It’s always been a decision made by the scientists and public health experts at the CDC,” White House coronavirus coordinator Jeff Zients told reporters at a briefing Tuesday. “It should remain independent of the urgently needed funding that we talked about today to sustain our covid response here domestically and our global response.”

Biden’s polls show his average favorability on immigration issues is just 36 percent, well below his average opposition of 59 percent, according to the RealClearPolitics poll-tracking site.

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