Washington: The US President Joe Biden lashed out at the GOP with the remark “Grow a Spine” for picking up enough courage to oppose his predecessor Donald Trump and defy his demand for scuttling the bipartisan compromise bill on the border issue.
Biden vowed to take the border issue on the campaign trail against Congressional Republicans who are too timid to defy Trump’s demand that a bipartisan compromise bill be scuttled. And his Deputy Kamala Harris has already hit the campaign dirt taking the abortion rights issue to the women voters across the country in a combined assault against the Republicans who are divided on both the issues.
Congressional Republicans are so afraid of Donald Trump that they are willing to risk border security, the fate of US ally Ukraine, and the US’ reputation abroad to appease the GOP presidential frontrunner Trump, President Joe Biden charged on Tuesday, appealing to lawmakers to pass a bipartisan border security and foreign aid bill.
“All indications are this bill won’t even move forward to the Senate floor,” Biden said at the White House as it was increasingly clear that the hard work that went into the nuances and finer details of the border issue and sending assistance to Ukraine and the Middle East was seriously facing prospects of being jeopardised.
“Why? A simple reason. Donald Trump. Because Trump thinks it’s bad for him, politically. He’d rather weaponise this issue than actually solve it,” he added.
“It’s time for Republicans in Congress to show a little courage, to show a little spine ... to make it clear to the American people that they work for them,” Biden said, pleading for passage of a bill Republicans had warmed up to until Trump campaigned for its defeat.
The border situation is an ongoing vulnerability for Biden, who faces the prospect of another close race with his predecessor this fall. With the economy strong and inflation stabilising, Republicans have shifted their attacks on Biden to the border problem, an issue that could be especially damaging to Biden in battleground states like Arizona, media reports said.
But the President turned the tables on Tuesday, saying he would take the issue as his own on the campaign trail and use it against Trump and Congressional Republicans.
“Every day between now and November, the American people are going to know that the only reason the border is not secure is Donald Trump and his MAGA Republican friends,” Biden said.
The package, crafted by a bipartisan team on Capitol Hill, includes 1,500 additional border agents to physically secure the border, 4,300 asylum officers and 100 asylum judges. The latter two would reduce the current five to seven year wait for asylum claims to be adjudicated to a more reasonable six months, Biden said.
While the bill is sans some Democratic priorities — such as a path to citizenship for certain immigrants who strolled into the country illegally, including people illegally brought here as small children — it would expedite work permits for qualifying immigrants. That detail has been sought by Governors, Mayors and business people looking for workers.
Further, the legislation would give Biden the authority to temporarily shut down the border on days it is overwhelmed.
“If the bill were law today, it would require it to be shut down right now,” Biden said, reversing the attack on the GOP.
The bill also includes aid to Ukraine, to Israel and for humanitarian needs for Palestinians suffering in the war in Gaza. Denying that assistance would send a grim message to the rest of the world about America’s leadership, Biden warned.
“Supporting this bill is standing up to (Russian President Vladimir Putin),” who invaded Ukraine two years ago, Biden said: “Opposing this bill is playing into his hands.”
House Speaker Mike Johnson, Louisiana Republican, declared the bipartisan Senate bill “dead on arrival”. He’s acknowledged having conversations with Trump but said the former President did not intimidate him into killing the bill.
Once the GOP-run House signalled it would not even consider the package, Senate Republicans started to jump ship, making it unclear whether the upper chamber would even consider the package their own members negotiated on a bipartisan basis, media reports said. Congress Careens Toward Border Showdown: “Doing nothing is not an option,” Biden said. (IANS)