Senate GOP firm on vote to keep in place Title 42 as part of deal to pass omnibus spending bill

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer is expressing optimism about passage, but rank-and-file senators are less confident about averting a shutdown.
Chuck Schumer

Senate Republicans are not moving forward with efforts to help Congress pass a $1.7 trillion federal funding bill to avoid a partial government by midnight Friday, insisting on an amendment vote to extend the a Trump White House’s rule known as Title 42 that limits immigration during the pandemic.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer early Thursday morning insisted a deal was near.

"It is my expectation we will be able to lock in an agreement on the omnibus tomorrow morning," Schumer said on the Senate floor at about 2 a.m., according to Roll Call newspaper.  "We are very close, but we're not there yet.”

The amendment is being sponsored by Utah GOP Sen. Mike Lee who along with other Senate Republicans say the Biden administration lifting of the Trump-era rule will exacerbate the problem of record immigration at the southern U.S. 

The Republicans want the amendment to be able to pass with a simple, 51-vote majority in the 100-member chamber, while Democrats want a 60-vote threshold. 

"Sen. Schumer doesn’t want to have a vote on Title 42 because he presumably knows it will pass," said fellow Utah GOP Sen Mitt Romney, according to Associated Press.

Romney also pointed out the Democrat-led House won’t go along with the amendment being added to the so as a result, "everything falls apart."

Senate Democrats also appear less than optimistic about the passage of the fiscal 2023 omnibus spending bill before Friday’s deadline.

"This bill is hanging by a thread," said Delaware Democrat Sen. Chris Coons.

The bill includes as much as $47 billion in military and economic aid for Ukraine in its effort to thwart Russia’s now, roughly roughly 10-month invasion. And the Senate impasse came just hours after Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky before a joint meeting expressed gratitude for the U.S. aid.

"Your money is not charity,” Zelensky said. “It’s an investment in the global security and democracy that we handle in the most responsible way.

Schumer said he talked directly with Zelensky and that the Ukraine leader "made it clear that without this aid package, the Ukrainians will be in real trouble and could even lose the war.

The New York lawmaker also said "So that makes the urgency of getting this legislation done all the more important."