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“We supported a negotiation to bring common sense border security to this country. We did not agree to a border fig leaf to send another $61 billion to Ukraine.”

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Senator JD Vance (R-OH) joined a number of his Republican colleagues at a press conference to blast the recently introduced Ukraine-border security bill.
Watch Senator Vance’s remarks here and read a transcript below.

Senator Vance on the deal failing to force Biden and Mayorkas to secure the border:

“If you’re going to actually vote to enact border policy, you’re going to take a tough vote for all the reasons that [Senator Cruz] stated, it ought to actually do something important. We have to remember the fundamental framing here, this is what so much of the reporting ignores about this border crisis. The fundamental framing here is Joe Biden has every tool at his disposal to end the border crisis tomorrow. 

“So, what we’re trying to do with this law is constrain his discretion and force him to do the job that he refuses to do. We’re trying to force the President to do what he already could do under existing legal authority. And yet, every single provision of this legislation, or nearly every provision of this legislation, allows either Secretary Mayorkas or the President of the United States to waive the enforcement mechanisms. 

“How, do you square these things? How do you say ‘we’ve got to force the President to do a job,’ and yet we’re passing a border bill that allows the President to waive every single authority that the bill gives him? We do not need to give Joe Biden more tools. We do not need to give Joe Biden a border security bill, which is really, as [Senator] Roger Marshall said, a Ukraine first bill masquerading as a border security bill. 

“What we need to do is pass legislation that forces Joe Biden to do his job, restrains his discretion, constrains his discretion, not give him more authority to run in and around the laws that we have in this country. This bill doesn’t do that, so we can’t support it. As you heard everybody said, that doesn’t mean there isn’t an immigration law that we would support. 

“There are a number of provisions in this bill that if they were made better and actually forced Joe Biden to do his job, we’d all vote for it. I’m maybe the biggest skeptic of Ukraine aid in the United States Senate. I care much more about the American southern border, but I’m not going to vote for a border security package that doesn’t do any border security.”   

Senator Vance on Senate leadership’s tactical failures:

“Leadership really screwed this up. I think they made a series of political arguments that were never going to actually fly. They knew, or at least should have known, that this bill was never actually going to get there. 

“And certainly, on the Ukraine question, yes, I think leadership is massively out of touch with Republican voters. We are not, as a Republican party, behind unlimited, unaccounted for aid to Ukraine without any goals in mind, without any sense of where the money is going and what’s going to be accomplished if we continue to support Ukraine. 

“So, I absolutely think it’s a failure of leadership that we’ve gotten to this point, and yes, I think they’re out of touch on that particular issue. There’s one other point here, you’ve heard some folks in our leadership make this argument that what happened here is Republicans as a conference demanded that we use Ukraine as leverage to get border concessions from the Biden administration. 

“They’ll say things like, ‘well, you wanted us to negotiate for border security, and now that we have this package, you say that it’s not good enough.’ Well, we asked you to negotiate for border security, not crappy border security that has nothing to do with securing the American southern border. So, this idea that we signed a political death compact, where we wanted to negotiate for border security, so we’re therefore committed to supporting any package that comes out of these negotiations is ridiculous. 

“If you had a bill that said we’re going to legalize 12 million illegal aliens, every single Republican, I hope, would vote against it. But we’re not committing ourselves to voting for this thing just because we entered the negotiation. And the idea that we are, the idea, and you hear this from some of our leadership, and hopefully they will stop, the idea that we committed to supporting whatever came out of this negotiation is pure, unadulterated bullshit. 

“We supported a negotiation to bring common sense border security to this country. We did not agree to a border fig leaf to send another $61 billion to Ukraine.”

Senator Vance explaining how secretive negotiations were always going to tilt in the Biden administration’s favor:

“When you go into a border security negotiation, as complicated as immigration law is, and you make it entirely secret, that gives a massive asymmetric advantage to the team that has more lawyers. 

“On the one hand, you have the Democratic majority, you have the Department of Homeland Security, the Department of Justice, you have the army of lawyers that they have. And on the other hand is [Senator] James Lankford and his staff negotiating in secret. The idea that any person could negotiate successfully to a border security package that wouldn’t have multiple loopholes in it is crazy. 

“These guys have a massive advantage. It was a huge mistake. I don’t know who in leadership made this decision, but if it had been out in the open, okay, we have a number of good immigration groups. We have a number of good advocacy organizations that could have helped us level the playing field. The fact that it was done in secret, I think was by design, and it was done to sabotage real border security.”