News Article

Cardin says bipartisan border security deal ‘only’ failed because of Trump
March 3, 2024


By: Miranda Nazzaro

Democratic Sen. Ben Cardin (Md.) pinned the blame for the Senate’s failed bipartisan border security deal on former President Trump on Sunday, claiming his opposition to the bill is the “only reason” the bill did not pass in the upper chamber last month.

“We had a bipartisan deal to fix the border, a very strong bill,” Cardin said Sunday on “Fox News Sunday.”

“Now, the only reason we didn’t pass it is that former President Trump wanted this to be a campaign issue rather than allowing us to get a major bill done, giving the resources to the people at the border to protect our border. Congress has the responsibility to act.”

The Hill reached out to Trump’s campaign for comment.

A bipartisan border security package failed in the Senate by a vote of 49-50 last month after weeks of negotiations between both sides of the aisle. A majority of the GOP conference in the upper chamber voted against advancing it, save for Republican Sens. Susan Collins (Maine), Lisa Murkowski (Alaska), Mitt Romney (Utah) and James Lankford (Okla.) — one of the negotiators on the bill — who voted to advance the measure.

The bill was part of a larger emergency foreign aid package for Ukraine and Israel’s war efforts, and Indo-Pacific security, after Senate Republicans repeatedly insisted any aid to Ukraine must be linked with border security reform.

Shortly after the border deal was unveiled, Trump publicly opposed it and urged Senate GOP members to vote against the bill, which included significant concessions from Democrats on border security.

Some lawmakers quickly argued Trump emerged as a vocal critic of the deal to use the border situation as a campaign issue.

“Fox News Sunday” anchor Shannon Bream on Sunday pointed to numbers showing increasing border crossings under President Biden compared to Trump after Biden “openly repealed a lot of action” Trump took during his administration.

Asked if he does not concede border crossing numbers have increased, Cardin said, “The president’s required to carry out the laws that Congress has passed. We have certain laws that protect in regard to asylum-seekers, in regard to people who have legitimate reasons to come to our border. The problem is we haven’t given the administration the resources they need in order to enforce those laws.”

Cardin later pushed back on the argument from Republicans, who claim they have given more money to Democrats and the White House for immigration than they asked for and that the border situation is about policy, not money.

“Well, it’s about both, and they’re wrong,” Cardin said. “The supplemental appropriation bill would have given additional resources to the border, not only to deal with the immigrant issue but to deal with the illegal fentanyl that’s coming into this country. It’s absolutely essential that we provide those additional resources; the border people need that. And no, Congress has not provided the necessary resources to date.”