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Mike Johnson

Would the House ever accept a White House-Senate border deal?

Think about this: Let’s say the White House comes to a deal with the Senate on a border security package to pair with Ukraine aid. Would the House Republican Conference ever accept that?

The general consensus in the House GOP leadership is quite simple: No.

Why? Because the White House went around Speaker Mike Johnson and negotiated with Senate Republicans and Democrats. And Johnson, who is quite new to the job, has said that anything short of H.R. 2 — the GOP’s restrictive immigration and border security bill — won’t solve the problem. So the House GOP conference has been conditioned to believe that legislation that could never pass the Senate is the only answer to the serious problems at the U.S.-Mexico border.

House Majority Leader Steve Scalise said any package needs to include “Remain in Mexico” and a “real asylum process.” Scalise said H.R. 2 is the party’s negotiating position.

Then there are the hardline conservatives. Listen to Rep. Chip Roy (R-Texas), policy chair for the House Freedom Caucus, on what he thinks of the Senate-White House talks:

In fact, Roy said that he needs evidence the border is secured before the House should consider Ukraine aid.

By the way, Roy is clearly getting on Sen. Thom Tillis’ (R-N.C.) nerves. Here’s what Tillis said about Roy’s demands:

But even then, there are more than 100 House Republicans who have voted against Ukraine aid and will likely do so again.

That’s why Democrats believe Republicans can’t make unreasonable demands on border and immigration restrictions — because Democratic votes will be necessary to make up for the “never Ukraine” crowd.

If the Senate produces a deal — and that’s a big if — the House is going to be the final proving ground. Johnson is going to have to decide whether it’s enough. And House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries will have to decide if it’s too much.

— Jake Sherman and Andrew Desiderio

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