What to Know in Washington: Border-Ukraine Deal Nears Collapse

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A hard-fought bipartisan deal to impose new border restrictions and unlock Ukraine war aid is on the brink of collapsing in the Senate, where Republican support crumbled in the face of opposition from GOP presidential front-runner Donald Trump.

The $118.3 billion deal was the result of months of closed-door Senate negotiations but its prospects began faltering soon after negotiators announced the details late Sunday. Less than 24 hours later, Republicans — even those who had been open to the deal — soured.

GOP discussions on the measure will continue today, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) who supported the Sunday compromise, said. However, Republican senators emerged from a contentious, 90-minute meeting last night arguing that a vote planned for tomorrow was too soon, delaying aid Ukraine says it desperately needs for at least several more weeks and leaving the worsening situation at the border unresolved.

Photographer: Kent Nishimura/Bloomberg
Sen. James Lankford (R-Okla.) outside the Senate Chamber at the US Capitol in Washington, DC, on Jan. 25.

Sen. James Lankford (Okla.), the key Republican in the negotiations, said he expects tomorrow’s planned procedural vote to fail because senators say they want more time to consider and make changes to the bill. He called the legislation “a work in progress” and joked he’s not prepared to have a funeral yet.

“I think the proposal is dead,” Sen. Roger Wicker (Miss.), the top Republican on the Armed Services Committee and a strong supporter of Ukraine aid, said.

In the meeting, McConnell told senators they should vote “no” tomorrow if they need more time to review the bill, a person familiar with the meeting said. Read more from Erik Wasson, Steven T. Dennis, and Ellen M. Gilmer.

Photo: Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images
Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas testifies on Capitol Hill in 2022.

Over in the House, GOP leadership will take a political shot at the Biden administration with a vote later today that would make Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas the first Cabinet official impeached in almost 150 years.

It’s virtually certain that the Democrat-led Senate won’t remove Mayorkas, but the House action is still significant. The vote will allow Republicans to aggressively oppose the embattled secretary as they seek to highlight President Joe Biden’s handling of the Southern border.

Maeve Sheehey breaks down five things to watch as the House barrels ahead on the Mayorkas impeachment, including Republican opposition and the impact of the Mayorkas vote on the upcoming elections.


  • The president and First Lady Jill Biden host a 5:30 p.m. Black History month reception at the White House. Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris will speak.
  • Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre holds a briefing at 1:30 p.m.


  • House Republicans teed up a vote to impeach DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas.
  • Senators will convene at 10 a.m. to consider a deputy secretary of state nomination.
  • For the full agenda read BGOV’s Congress Tracker.

Also Happening on the Hill

FAA Administrator Mike Whitaker will pledge to hold Boeing accountable for any quality lapses as the agency examines the planemaker’s manufacturing processes, according to his planned testimony before the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee today. Read more.

  • The FAA is seeking comments on a new airworthiness directive proposed for Boeing 787 models. Read more.

HOUSE REPUBLICANS are seeking more information from two Federal Reserve banks about their working relationships with two global central banking organizations, which they called “opaque and unaccountable.” Read more.

REPUBLICANS in the House subpoenaed the National Institutes of Health to obtain details and documents relating to allegations of sexual harassment within the agency and its grantee institutions. Read more.

THE HOUSE approved legislation to assist the Labor Department in detecting labor and sexual exploitation cases during workplace inspections. Read more.

People, Power, and Politics

Source: Candidate’s website
Ohio state Sen. Matt Dolan (R) shown campaigning for the US Senate.

AT LEAST THREE 2024 CANDIDATES are benefiting from super PACs funded by wealthy family members. They include:

  • Texas Republican Brandon Gill, whose bid for a House seat is buttressed by his father-in-law Dinesh D’Souza;
  • Ohio state Sen. Matt Dolan (R) is benefiting from a super PAC funded by his parents, part of the family that owns the Cleveland Guardians baseball team, as he eyes unseating Sen. Sherrod Brown (D);
  • In Arizona’s 8th District, a super PAC assisting Republican Abe Hamadeh received $1 million from the candidate’s brother, real estate broker Waseem Hamadeh. Read more.

NIKKI HALEY has requested Secret Service protection, citing threats she has received as the last major Republican challenger to Trump for the party’s presidential nomination, according to her campaign. Read more.

FORTY YEARS AGO, a strong economy and a helpful Federal Reserve carried Ronald Reagan to a second term—but it won’t be as easy for Biden. With voters expressing concerns about Biden’s age and ability, a booming election year economy may be less the magic bullet it was for Reagan than a necessary precondition for any hope of a second term. Read more.

BIDEN is winning the trade war with China judging by Trump’s favorite metric. The rub: It’s an increasingly flawed measure of the world’s most important economic relationship. Read more.

THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT has been silent on Trump’s appeal to remain on Colorado’s 2024 primary ballot after jumping into highly political Supreme Court fights over everything from abortion rights to federal election laws. Read more.

NINE STATES have proposed legislation that would let voters decide in November whether they want the right to a clean, safe environment spelled out in state constitutions.

  • Washington, New Jersey, and Hawaii are the farthest along, with committee hearings either recently held or scheduled for the coming weeks.
  • Attorneys say the amendments could strengthen climate lawsuits and policy if interpreted correctly. Read more.

What Else We’re Watching

Photographer: Matthew Hatcher/Bloomberg
Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg speaks near the site of the Norfolk Southern train derailment in East Palestine, Ohio on Feb. 23, 2023.

THE RAILROAD INDUSTRY trade group pushed back against comments on rail safety in an unusually forceful letter to Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, who participated in a press conference last week ahead of the one-year anniversary of the derailment in East Palestine, Ohio. Read more.

THE JUSTICE DEPARTMENT requested new information in its antitrust probe of Ticketmaster amid concerns the company isn’t cooperating with the investigation, according to people familiar with the probe. Read more.

To contact the reporters on this story: Jeannie Baumann in Washington at jbaumann@bloombergindustry.com; Giuseppe Macri in Washington at gmacri@bgov.com

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Kayla Sharpe at ksharpe@bloombergindustry.com

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