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Coronavirus response bill stalled amid dispute over immigration policy


“It will take, I think, several amendments to pass the floor,” said Sen. Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the Minority Leader. “So if the Majority Leader tries to move forward, we’ll have to have a discussion about a reasonable amendment process.”

While Republicans have pushed for other amendments, the most politically heavy provision they hoped to put to a vote would prevent the Biden administration from ending Trump-era pandemic restrictions on the border, which granted officials the possibility of turning back migrants, including those seeking asylum.

In announcing plans Friday to end the order in late May, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention cited “current public health conditions and increased availability of tools to combat Covid-19.” But Republicans argued it was contradictory for the administration to implement this policy shift while asking Congress to approve more pandemic aid.

“It is considerably complicated to get that money by announcing the same week that you are going to determine that section 42 of this effort to fight this disease is no longer necessary because the disease is no longer the same type of problem as ‘front,” said Sen. Roy Blunt, Republican of Missouri. “It’s clearly a big problem with our members.”

Several Democrats, including senators facing tough re-election contests in November, said they were concerned about the decision to reverse the policy, given that it is expected to attract thousands more migrants to the southern border. west, where the stations are already backed up and overloaded. On Tuesday, Senator Jon Tester of Montana became the latest Democrat to ask the administration to provide “a comprehensive plan on how it will respond to the increased pressure on our immigration system and increased security needs.” .

Some of those Democrats, including Senators Mark Kelly of Arizona and Raphael Warnock of Georgia, declined to say whether they would support a Republican amendment, since the text has not been released. But if even a Democrat were to support it, the amendment could pass the equally divided Senate. It would most likely kill the funding package in the House, where most Democrats applauded the Biden administration’s decision to end the immigration rule.

Democrats in both houses have also complained about the decision to jettison $5 billion for global immunization efforts, which was removed from the funding package after senators could not agree on how to fund it. pay. Republicans declined to back any new money to respond to the pandemic, so negotiators had to agree on reallocating funds that Congress had already approved in previous legislation.

nytimes

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