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McConnell admits defeat on border deal: ‘It will not become law’

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Mitch McConnell essentially declared the border security-foreign aid package dead on Tuesday, telling reporters “we have no real chance here to make a law.”

The Senate minority leader stressed there are parts of the national security supplemental — which included border policy changes as well as aid to Ukraine, Israel and Taiwan — that he believes are worth revisiting. On Tuesday morning, he was still stumping for Ukraine aid on the floor.

But after four months of border policy negotiations, which McConnell had personally called for and repeatedly supported, the GOP leader said the deal lacks support in his conference. And he noted staunch opposition from House Republican leadership.

“We had a very robust discussion about whether or not this product could ever become law,” McConnell said after the Senate GOP’s Tuesday lunch. “And it’s been made a pretty clear to us by the speaker that it will not become law.”

The remarks come one day before Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer plans to hold a procedural vote to begin debate on the bill. Schumer, who spoke shortly after McConnell broke the news, said Senate Democrats expressed “anger” and “deep disappointment” over the Republican stance at their Tuesday lunch.

“Leader McConnell and the Republican Conference did a 180-degree reversal,” Schumer said. “They’re quaking at the knees in fear of Donald Trump.”

The question is now whether the Senate will go back to a standalone Ukraine-Israel-Taiwan aid package. The White House originally requested that package last fall, along with border funding, before Republicans demanded significant border policy changes be added to the deal in exchange for Ukraine aid. McConnell on Tuesday said Democratic leadership should “repackage” those foreign assistance provisions.

Schumer would not say whether he’d go back to a bill focusing on just Ukraine, Israel and Taiwan aid.