Don’t tell us it is a crisis when you’re guilty of squandering the latest opportunity to address conditions at the southern border. A bipartisan negotiation to address the humanitarian crisis is in limbo simply because Donald Trump and Republicans are afraid it might bolster up President Biden’s chances of reelection. They’ve shown their cards. It reads “party over country.”

They can’t get out of their own way on this issue. It is deja vu. A decade ago, a bipartisan Senate-negotiated bill on the border failed to be taken up in the GOP-controlled House after it passed the Senate. They didn’t want to give President Obama a win in an election year. Kevin Cramer was in the House at that time. Cramer’s now in the Senate and it’s a question whether or not the Senate GOP has the courage even to take up their own list of demands. They held the line for months against funding bills to get policy changes on the border. According to GOP Senator James Lankford who negotiated the deal, this bill meets their policy goals.

Now they’re shrinking from their responsibilities again. The fear? Biden gets credit.

All the legitimate concerns about the troubles at the border and its impacts on Americans as repeated for the past decade are pushed aside for partisan politics in an election year. A tale as old as time, but perhaps not as obvious as in this moment. They can’t help themselves.

Imagine resolving it. At the very least, they can claim they purchased the tools in this bill and then make the pitch that people need to elect a better craftsman. But they’re frozen in fear and will continue to do nothing. 

It might seem foreign to Congressional Republicans to run on accomplishments. Campaign on what they’ve got done. In public opinion, they’ve owned this issue. Hell, they could say on the trail, “Even with somebody who was reluctant in the White House because he was a Democratic President, we were still able to get this done. Our demands were met. Democrats caved. It was our bill. We’ve got the track record going back years to prove this is what we wanted, and finally, we’re able to get it done.” I know that’s not the game plan. It is easier in modern-day American politics to play the victim and continue to shout everything is in crisis without owning any responsibility to resolve it. 

Tyler Axness
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