Biden Says if Senate Bill Passes, He'd Shut Border

President endorses tougher measures in face of House GOP opposition
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 27, 2024 5:30 PM CST
Backing Senate Bill, Biden Says He'd Shut Border
A guardsman stands watch at the US-Mexico border on Jan. 3 in Eagle Pass, Texas.   (AP Photo/Eric Gay)

President Biden has said that if Congress approves legislation with new presidential authority to close the southern border when it becomes overwhelmed by migrants, "I would use it." Senate negotiators are working on the bipartisan package, and Biden expressed his support for its increased restrictions in a statement on Friday night after Speaker Mike Johnson said the legislation would be "dead on arrival" in the House. "For everyone who is demanding tougher border control, this is the way to do it," Biden said, per USA Today. "If you're serious about the border crisis, pass a bipartisan bill and I will sign it."

Biden has not supported such measures before, but Republicans have been hammering on it as the presidential election year begins. House Majority Whip Tom Emmer said Saturday on Fox News that the only reason Biden is willing to consider the issue is "because it has now become a political liability for the White House," per the Hill. Donald Trump has been pressuring congressional Republicans to oppose the Senate compromise so he can campaign on the issue, per CNN. "A bad border deal is far worse than no border deal," Trump posted online Saturday, per Politico.

Biden called the provisions "the toughest and fairest set of reforms to secure the border we've ever had in our country." The measure would allow closing the border once average daily migrant crossings topped 4,000 in a one-week period. It includes exceptions, though the details aren't yet clear. The full Senate plan could be released next week, CNN reports. (More President Biden stories.)

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