By David Morgan and Andy Sullivan
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Republican U.S. House Speaker Mike Johnson on Wednesday cast doubt on bipartisan efforts to strengthen border security, saying the Democratic president Joe Biden does not need new laws to resolve the problem, indicating that a compromise being negotiated has a good chance of being adopted.
Congress’ top Republican, in his first official speech since taking the president’s gavel in October, said the deal being hammered out in the Senate doesn’t go far enough to keep migrants out in the country along the US-Mexico border.
“From what we’ve heard, this so-called deal does not include the transformational policy changes needed to truly end the border catastrophe,” he said in prepared excerpts of his remarks on the House floor. .
Johnson’s remarks made clear that any bipartisan compromise emerging from the Democratic-majority Senate would face a difficult reception in the House, which his Republicans control by a margin of 219-213.
Donald Trumpthe Republican candidate for the presidential nomination, called on lawmakers to reject any deal before the November election that would determine control of the White House and Congress.
That would cast doubt on emergency aid to Ukraine and Israel, with House Republicans saying they would not approve more money without tighter border controls. They are also advancing efforts to impeach Biden’s top border official, Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, although they are unlikely to succeed in persuading the Senate to remove him from office.
The Biden administration has struggled to deal with record numbers of migrants seeking asylum along the U.S.-Mexico border, and opinion polls show immigration is a top concern among voters.
Johnson framed the problem in apocalyptic terms, saying illegal immigrants have driven children out of classrooms and veterans out of nursing homes.
He said Biden already had the authority he needed to prevent unauthorized entry into…