Biden challenges House GOP to solve border crisis — or ‘keep playing politics’

The president said the agreement unveiled Sunday includes some of the “toughest and fairest set of border reforms in decades,” and one that he “strongly” supports. Biden asked Congress to pass the deal quickly — placing the fate of the deal in their hands. And he once again
dared Republicans
to reject the deal as it faces a make-or-break comment amid GOP fissures in both chambers.

“I’ve made my decision. I’m ready to solve the problem. I’m ready to secure the border. And so are the American people,” the president said. “I know we have our divisions at home but we cannot let partisan politics get in the way of our responsibilities as a great nation. I refuse to let that happen.”

The border has long been a challenging issue for the Biden White House. The president has seen record crossings since taking office in 2021, further straining a southern border already weighed down by irregular migration and an overwhelmed asylum processing system. Border Patrol agents
reported a record 302,034 encounters
with migrants over the southern border last month, according to figures released by U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

In addition, the fast-approaching 2024 election has piled on the pressure for Biden to take action on the border — to address the crisis but to also win the messaging battle on an issue Republicans frequently used to rally their base. Former President Donald Trump, Biden’s likely 2024 opponent, is sure to continue his efforts to combust a deal, adding another layer to efforts to sell the border legislation.

“I urge Congress to come together and swiftly pass this bipartisan agreement,” Biden said. “Get it to my desk so I can sign it into law immediately.”

Given the White House’s work with Senate Republicans on the legislation, Biden administration officials have focused their attention on Speaker Mike Johnson, casting him and House Republicans as the barrier to securing the border.

During the Senate talks, the Biden administration has tried to flip the long-held view — one borne out in public polling — that Republicans are better trusted on the issues of immigration and protecting the border. The administration argues the House GOP has blocked all of the president’s efforts to secure the border.

“Despite arguing for 6 straight years that presidents need new legal authority to secure the border, and despite claiming to agree with President Biden on the need for hiring more Border Patrol agents and deploying new fentanyl detection equipment, Speaker Johnson is now the chief impediment to all 3,” White House spokesperson Andrew Bates wrote in a strategy memo released last week.

Johnson’s camp has blamed Biden for reversing Trump-era border regulations that led to an uptick in migrants crossing the border.

“In a desperate attempt to shift blame for a crisis their policies have induced, they have argued it’s a funding problem,” wrote Johnson spokesperson Raj Shah in a memo last month. “Clearly, they have no facts to back up their claim.”

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