Skip to content
Sign up to receive our free weekday morning edition, and you'll never miss a scoop.
Chuck Schumer

Back to the border

The Senate is in today, the House returns tomorrow. But both chambers are leaving Thursday for the Memorial Day recess. Congress is already so into summer!

Speaker Mike Johnson is in Philadelphia today and will hold a fundraiser with Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick (R-Pa.). Fitzpatrick is one of the few remaining House Republican moderates.

President Joe Biden is hosting Kenyan President William Ruto at the White House this week, including a state dinner on Thursday. Remember, Johnson decided against hosting Ruto for a speech to a joint meeting of Congress during this vigorous Tuesday-through-Thursday week.

Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen will take part in meetings in Frankfurt, Germany, and a G7 finance minister conference in Stresa, Italy. We’ll have coverage from both sessions by our own Brendan Pedersen, who’s traveling with Yellen.

Much of the focus this week again will be the ongoing conflict in Gaza coupled with the political fallout inside Israel. Now comes news that broke overnight — Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi and Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian have died in a helicopter crash. Raisi was seen as a possible successor to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

In the Senate: Various committees will hear testimony from top national security officials this week, including from Secretary of State Antony Blinken.

But the action is going to be on the Senate floor, where Majority Leader Chuck Schumer is expected to tee up another vote on the bipartisan border security deal that Republicans killed earlier this year.

Let’s just say up front that this effort will fail. Republicans see this simply as a political exercise intended to boost vulnerable Democratic incumbents, so they’re not going to vote for it. And Schumer openly acknowledged that not every Democrat will support it.

More from Schumer’s “Dear Colleague” letter Sunday night:

Hispanic Democrats, including Sens. Alex Padilla (Calif.) and Bob Menendez (N.J.), will oppose it, as will a handful of Senate progressives. Of course, Menendez might not even show up for the vote because of his federal bribery trial in New York City

So not only will the border security proposal not get 60 votes, it won’t even get a majority.

But that isn’t the point. Democratic leaders have been pretty transparent about their view that this is a chance to flip the traditional politics of border security on its head — and throw their red-state members a lifeline.

Sen. Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii), one of the party’s top messaging figures, said, “We are not going to stop talking about this.”

“We’re tired of being on defense about this. Frankly, our argument is better. The Republicans unanimously tanked tough border policy because their boss told them to,” Schatz said.

Republicans see Schumer’s decision to resuscitate the border deal as an attempt to deflect from President Joe Biden’s record on the border. GOP leaders believe the issue is already baked in when it comes to the election, and they think voters will blame Democrats for the ongoing crisis at the U.S.-Mexico border no matter what.

Sen. James Lankford (R-Okla.), the lead Republican negotiator for the bipartisan border deal, likened Schumer’s move to recent GOP efforts to force doomed-to-fail Senate votes on H.R. 2, the hardline Republican border bill that has no Democratic support.

Lankford, of course, suggested earlier this year that members of his party were playing politics when they rejected his deal with Democrats and the White House. Lankford sees Schumer’s move as no different.

“This is, let’s pick up weapons and try to attack each other,” Lankford told us late last week. “That’s not going to help us. We’ve got to figure out how to solve this.”

It’s certainly a boost for Sens. Jon Tester (D-Mont.) and Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio). The ads practically write themselves: “Senator X voted for the strictest border crackdown in a generation.”

As we wrote last week, it’s a steep uphill climb for Tester and Brown with former President Donald Trump on top of the GOP ticket. Both will need to out-perform Biden by substantial margins to win reelection this November in their red states.

Yet it’s not just Tester and Brown who would benefit from this “show” vote. Sens. Jacky Rosen (D-Nev.), Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.) and Bob Casey (D-Pa.) are also more than happy to vote for this to draw a contrast with their GOP challengers.

The House: The House is voting this week on a pair of financial services bills. It’s a welcome sign for the Financial Services Committee, which has a backlog of legislation that needs floor consideration. Read about this week on the floor, which our Vault team said is unlike any other week in crypto’s history.

Also on the floor: The Working Dog Commemorative Coin Act; legislation that would give Congressional Gold Medals to “60 diplomats, in recognition of their bravery and heroism during the Holocaust”; and a bill that would make it illegal for undocumented immigrants to vote in the District of Columbia.

— Andrew Desiderio, Jake Sherman and John Bresnahan

Presented by Apollo

Apollo is helping to fuel the economy and promote resiliency in the financial system by originating investment-grade private credit. Learn how Apollo is helping the great American businesses of today become leaders of tomorrow.

Editorial photos provided by Getty Images. Political ads courtesy of AdImpact.