House Republicans are preparing to push through a border bill this week, despite misgivings from members about its impact on agriculture, service, and hospitality workers.
Leadership seems to be betting that Republicans are unlikely to vote down a border bill the week that Title 42 expires, especially one that’s almost certain to end up nowhere near President Biden’s desk. There’s still time for members to argue for a fix before any bipartisan bill emerges in talks with the Senate, which may also be a long shot.
“I would expect leadership to make public commitments about ensuring that [agriculture] is taken care of before anything becomes law,” a source familiar with the party’s conversations told Semafor.
The bill, H.R. 2, would restart construction of former President Trump’s border wall, alter the asylum process and mandate E-Verify, an-internet based system to check workers’ legal status.
Members who represent districts with large farm and service-industry sectors had privately expressed qualms with the E-Verify portion of the bill. They’ve argued there needs to be reform to temporary worker programs before any mandate kicks in, otherwise it could cause chaos in the labor market.
But Republicans seem to be coalescing around the bill ahead of a vote this week. An exception is Rep. Thomas Massie, R-Ky. a libertarian known for his opposition to government mandates.
“Republicans are about to make a huge mistake,” he tweeted. “Biden forced millions of Americans to take VACCINES by threatening their JOBS, and turning EMPLOYERS into enforcers. Imagine giving Biden the ultimate on/off switch for EMPLOYMENT called E-verify. Might as well call it V-verify.”
Rep. Dan Crenshaw, R-Texas expressed concerns over how the legislation addresses Mexican drug cartels, but has not confirmed he’s a firm “no” on the bill.