From Robert Kuttner, The American Prospect <[email protected]>
Subject Kuttner on TAP: The GOP Clown Show on Border Security
Date February 7, 2024 8:57 PM
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**FEBRUARY 7, 2024**

On the Prospect website

Why Alejandro Mayorkas Wasn't Impeached

It may have had to do with his recent announcement on stopping goods
made with forced labor, which potentially swayed a Republican China hawk
to vote no. BY DAVID DAYEN

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Why Were Inflation Hawks Wrong?

Economists like Larry Summers predicted that bringing inflation down
would require a large increase in unemployment. It didn't. BY RYAN

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Latimer Picks Anti-Union Consultant for Bowman Challenge

Global Strategy Group, which once worked for Amazon to prevent union
organizing in its warehouses, is doing polling for the pro-Israel

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The REAL Threat at Our Border

Trump, Republican governors, and MAGA media have summoned their armed
fanatics to the Rio Grande. BY RICK PERLSTEIN

Kuttner on TAP








**** The GOP Clown Show on Border Security

Who gains politically if the bipartisan border bill stays blocked? The
losers are the vast majority of voters who want the crisis solved.

The events of the past few days laid bare all of the Republican schisms
on Ukraine, Israel, immigration, and the border. In the Senate, Mitch
McConnell's caucus deserted him on a carefully negotiated border bill,
leaving him more isolated politically.

In the House, four Republicans joined Democrats to defeat the measure
impeaching Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas. Meanwhile,
the House failed to pass a stand-alone Republican bill for $17.6 billion
in aid to Israel. Speaker Mike Johnson looks more inept and more
vulnerable than ever.

What remains to be seen is whether the Democrats can play the GOP
disarray to their advantage. The Republicans abruptly blocked a tough
border deal whose contents they virtually dictated, only because Trump
opposed it.

That gives Biden a strong basis to engage Trump on an issue where public
opinion wants the border mess resolved. He sounded strong when he spoke
out Tuesday
declaring that Trump "would rather weaponize this issue than actually
solve it." He challenged congressional Republicans to "show some spine
and do what they know to be right."

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As expected, the Senate failed to pass the border bill when Democratic
Leader Schumer brought it up today. Just four Republicans voted in
favor: Lisa Murkowski (AK), Susan Collins (ME), Mitt Romney (UT), and
James Lankford (OK). Four Democrats joined Republicans in voting no:
Alex Padilla (CA), Bob Menendez (NJ), and Elizabeth Warren and Ed
Markey, both of Massachusetts. Later today, Schumer will offer a
stand-alone foreign aid bill for Israel and Ukraine, another issue that
splits Republicans.

This is far from over. The Democrats could try for border legislation
again. Biden could attempt to use executive powers to bring more order
to the migrant pileup. In normal times, courts would block that kind of
move, but right-wing judges might uphold it, paradoxically helping

On the border issue, everything is now topsy-turvy. Democrats are now
for a tough policy they didn't really want. Republicans blocked a
measure they imposed on Democrats. They look like toadies to Trump,
which helps with their hardcore base but not with voters generally,
especially on this issue.

If the crisis persists, my bet is that it hurts the Republicans more
than it hurts Biden and eventually Congress will be compelled to act.


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