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Serving Northern St. Louis County, Minnesota

Trump’s minions

Stauber and other GOP House members prove they put Trump first, the country last


Republicans in Congress, including our Eighth District Rep. Pete Stauber, have helpfully clarified any illusions that may have existed about their loyalties to this country. It’s Trump first, America last.
That’s the only conclusion one can draw from the GOP’s rejection of bipartisan legislation that had been carefully crafted for months in the Senate to address the ongoing flow of migrants at the border. The legislation amounted to a major compromise—some have called it capitulation— by the Biden administration, which agreed to most of the changes Republicans had sought, including tightening asylum rules and allowing for partial border shutdowns along with significant additional funding for border enforcement.
GOP leadership had insisted for months that the border policy changes had to be included as part of any funding package for Ukraine or Israel, and the Biden administration and most Democratic members of Congress had reluctantly agreed to that framework. The final bill not only had bipartisan support in the Senate, but also the backing of the union for the U.S. Border Patrol, which called the measure a major step forward.
Republicans had spent weeks crowing about how they had successfully leveraged Democrats’ desire for aid to Ukraine to bring them into discussions on the most significant changes to immigration policy in decades. For a Republican-led House that even their own members have complained has accomplished next to nothing this session, it looked like a major policy win.
And then Donald Trump weighed in, putting his own desire to stay out of prison, ahead of the country. Trump, as usual, said the quiet part out loud, unabashedly acknowledging that he didn’t want the troubles at the border resolved because he planned to campaign on the issue this fall. It was no different from his earlier expressed wish for an economic collapse in the U.S., which he hoped would help him politically. Given that the economy looks stronger today than at any time under the Trump administration, Trump will likely need to put border issues at the top of his campaign messaging. A legislative fix that would have allowed President Biden to effectively address the border issues, would have been as troublesome to Trump’s bid as the booming stock market and record job creation under Biden.
So, the GOP members of the House and Senate, who apparently view their institutions as little more than subsidiaries of the Trump Organization, have opted to ensure continued chaos at the border because they see it as good politics. Rather than solving the problem they employ cheap political games, like impeaching the director of Homeland Security for following the law. We don’t need to point out the craven nature of that decision— it’s self-evident.
It’s also self-defeating for those who would truly like to see a solution to the border situation. For supporters of border reform, this was the best opportunity for effective change because the politics of the border, as well as the Biden administration’s desire to approve aid for Ukraine, Israel, and Taiwan, provided a unique set of circumstances in which Democrats were willing to support changes that they would never back with someone like Donald Trump in the White House.
Whether the Republicans care to pretend otherwise, it is far more likely than not that Democrats will be back in the control of the U.S. House and will, at minimum, have sufficient members to filibuster any legislation in the Senate after this fall’s elections.
Whether Trump is in the White House or not will have little bearing on border reform efforts in Congress if Democrats and Republicans don’t agree on a bill to send to the president’s desk. For all Trump’s tough talk on the border, his administration had no more authority than Biden to address the increased flow of immigrants seeking asylum, which is allowed under current U.S. law. And the courts shut down some of Trump’s more extreme attempts to address the border situation. COVID provided a temporary solution, one that no longer exists.
The U.S. has repeatedly failed to update its immigration laws in any meaningful way since the Reagan administration, despite repeated calls and promises by members of both parties to do so. The current circumstances, including Biden’s willingness to buck his party’s leftwing on the issue, created the first real opening for meaningful reform in a generation. That possibility is now almost certainly gone, and a president as polarizing as Donald Trump, who showed little ability to govern in his first term, will have virtually no chance to achieve the kind of border improvements that the GOP has now rejected.
It shows that GOP House members, including our Eighth District Rep. Pete Stauber, are less interested in solving problems than in ensuring their continuation for political gain.