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Republicans neglect the border, but can’t ignore national security

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Earlier this year, I traveled to Tokyo and Okinawa with a bipartisan delegation to meet with government officials, industry leaders and academics to discuss a number of issues including elections, trade, defense and the economy. Yet one specific issue was raised by our hosts in nearly every meeting — the Russian invasion of Ukraine, and whether the U.S. will abandon our allies when they need us most. 

The world is watching how America responds. In Europe, the Indo-Pacific, the Middle East and elsewhere, our allies are uncertain of our reliability as leaders of the free world. At the same time, our adversaries and their enablers are watching just as closely to evaluate our resolve.  

As Ukraine fights for freedom, Israel fights against terrorism and Taiwan faces threats to their democracy and independence, we cannot abdicate our responsibility. 

PUTIN ISSUES CHILLING WARNING AGAINST SENDING WESTERN TROOPS TO DEFEND UKRAINE

If we fail to support our allies, the message will be clear: the United States no longer stands for democracy across the globe. Democracies that have free and fair elections, strive for equality, protect freedom of speech and a free press, and support freedom of religion.  

We risk emboldening our adversaries, starting with Eastern Europe. The most recent example is Alexei Navalny, Russian President Vladimir Putin’s most ardent and vocal critic, who recently died while in the state’s custody. Regardless of the exact circumstances of his death, Putin is responsible. 

This is why Congress must act now.  

As Democrats fight to support our allies, Republican lawmakers have cynically used the issue of border security as cover for abandoning our duty to support our allies. In doing so, they put our national security at risk. This hypocrisy is driven by their fear of former President Donald Trump’s wrath. 

When President Joe Biden and Democrats brought forward legislation to support Ukraine, Israel and Taiwan last fall, Republicans demanded border security as a condition for aid. Taking them at their word, a bipartisan group of lawmakers wrote a bill to both fund our allies and address border security.  

Here is where it becomes bizarre. Before they even read the new bill, Republicans reject it out of hand. Why? Because it includes provisions to address the border, it would have bipartisan support in the House, and the last thing Trump wants is progress with this issue before the November election. 

It gets worse. The Senate then passes a bipartisan foreign aid bill that removes border provisions, and Speaker Mike Johnson, R-La., refuses to bring it to the House floor because it doesn’t address the border. All this flip-flopping is enough to make your head spin.  

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House Republicans are making it clear that they are not serious about governing and have no interest in pairing border security with assistance for our allies. Instead, they’d rather use the border as a political bludgeon. 

But our allies can’t wait – they’re depending on American leadership. We must send a message to the world that the U.S. stands for freedom and democracy and against tyranny and terror. It’s time for House Republicans to join us. Without further delay, we must work together to pass a critical aid package for our allies that includes humanitarian assistance for those affected by war. 

We risk emboldening our adversaries, starting with Eastern Europe. The most recent example is Alexei Navalny, Russian President Vladimir Putin’s most ardent and vocal critic, who recently died while in the state’s custody. Regardless of the exact circumstances of his death, Putin is responsible. 

For too long, Republicans have dominated the conversation around immigration and the border, but it’s a new day. The New Democrat Coalition, a group of 100 center-left lawmakers dedicated to making tangible progress for our nation, has unveiled a 10-point framework for practical bipartisan immigration reform, and call on Republicans to join us at the negotiating table. 

We are dedicated to protecting our national security, both by restoring order at the border and by supporting our allies. But the ideal path forward is a bi-partisan one. At this critical moment, both sides of the aisle must come together so Americans can trust their government to deliver, and so the world can trust us to stand firm by our commitments. 

We call on Speaker Johnson and House Republican leadership to honor their oath of office and put the American people and our allies above politics. 

CLICK HERE TO READ MORE FROM MARILYN STRICKLAND

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