Hispanic Caucus Draws Line Against GOP Border Budget Amendments

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The Congressional Hispanic Caucus is urging lawmakers to oppose border security measures Republicans plan to propose as amendments to Democrats’ long-sought budget reconciliation package — the latest point of contention in a tumultuous path to consensus on the bill.

“Should those amendments be included in the final package, the Senate will jeopardize its passage,” Congressional Hispanic Caucus Chair Rep. Raul Ruiz (D-Calif.) said Friday in a statement obtained exclusively by Bloomberg Government.

The CHC’s stance heightens tension around the anticipated amendment battle as Democrats seek to lock in unity around the health, climate, and tax package and move it to the Senate floor for a vote this weekend. The deal has undergone several eleventh-hour changes to appease Democratic senators, including Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.).

Sen. James Lankford (R-Okla.) this week said he is working on multiple immigration-related amendments, and other GOP members could offer proposals as part of the free-for-all amendment process culminating in the “vote-a-rama” of quick back-to-back votes.

Some moderate and politically vulnerable Democrats have previously joined Republicans in supporting an extension of Title 42, a pandemic-related restriction on asylum seekers. Other border-related proposals could also garner some bipartisan support as the Biden administration struggles to respond to high numbers of migrant encounters at the US-Mexico border.

The durability of potential add-ons remains to be seen, however, as Democrats could use a legislative maneuver to effectively wipe successful amendments from the bill after a vote.

“My goal is to keep us from having to do that,” Sen. Alex Padilla (D-Calif.) said during a press call Friday, adding that Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) has prioritized keeping the deal “clean.”

Padilla warned that he couldn’t “in good conscience vote out a bill that has anything harmful to immigrants.” Sen. Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) struck a similar chord earlier this week, saying he couldn’t support a bill that included language curtailing immigrants’ rights.

Democrats Seek Unity as Border Measures Loom on Climate Bill

The CHC’s message echoes the sentiments of Menendez and Padilla, who are members, and adds the force of dozens of other lawmakers across both chambers. The caucus includes more than 30 House members, as well as two others in the Senate: Ben Ray Luján (D-N.M.) and Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.).

To contact the reporter on this story: Ellen M. Gilmer in Washington at egilmer@bloombergindustry.com

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Loren Duggan at lduggan@bgov.com; Anna Yukhananov at ayukhananov@bloombergindustry.com

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