Home » McConnell casts doubt on border and Ukraine aid deal as GOP fury threatens both

McConnell casts doubt on border and Ukraine aid deal as GOP fury threatens both

by NBC News

WASHINGTON — Inside a special closed-door Republican meeting on Wednesday, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., cast doubt on an emerging deal to tighten immigration laws, citing GOP opposition to its provisions and telling senators that linking the two measures could also sink Ukraine aid.

It represents a marked shift for the top Senate Republican, who has been pushing hard for a bipartisan deal to pass the border legislation and foreign aid bill together through the Democratic-led Senate and the Republican-led House.

“When we started this, the border united us and Ukraine divided us,” McConnell told his fellow Republicans, according to a source familiar with his remarks. “The politics on this have changed.”

The shift comes as Donald Trump, who has pushed congressional GOP members to kill the deal, marches to the Republican presidential nomination and as hard-right Senate Republicans have grown increasingly pointed in their criticism of McConnell.

Trump’s desire to wield chaos at the border as a political weapon against President Joe Biden in a general election campaign is a factor in the ongoing congressional negotiations, with McConnell telling Republicans: “We don’t want to do anything to undermine him.”

“We’re in a quandary,” McConnell said, according to the source. The remarks were first reported by Punchbowl.

A second source with knowledge of the meeting confirmed that McConnell told the senators that Trump’s position could make it difficult for Republicans to support an immigration deal.

A person familiar with the Senate Republican deliberations says there is growing concern that a significant number of GOP members aren’t interested in striking a deal when it comes to immigration, leading to questions if it is worth it to continue to link any border deal to Ukraine funding. Senate leadership is looking for concrete evidence of interest in a border deal and considering whether to decouple the two issues and move forward, this…

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