Image for Graham Floats Yet Another Border Compromise
On Face the Nation, South Carolina Republican Senator Lindsey Graham endorsed an alternative border security compromise developed by the Problem-Solvers Caucus and suggested part of the aid to Ukraine, Israel and Taiwan come in the form of a loan.

The Problem-Solvers Plan Includes Key House GOP Border Provisions

Face the Nation continues as the de facto stage where border security proposals are debuted. On Sunday’s show, South Carolina Republican Senator Lindsey Graham revealed the latest twist in the saga to tie GOP-backed border security measures to aid to Ukraine, Israel and Taiwan.

Graham, known as a foreign affairs hawk who surprised observers by voting against the bipartisan Senate national security bill, said he would support a House proposal developed by the Problem-Solvers Caucus.

According to Graham, the Problem-Solvers proposal would require border agents to detain and expel most migrants for one year  to achieve “operational control” of the border. The bill also would resurrect the controversial Trump-era “Remain in Mexico” policy, which would require thousands of asylum-seekers towait in Mexico for U.S. court hearings.

The legislation would slim down defense funding for Ukraine, Israel, Taiwan and U.S. operations in the Middle East from the Senate-approved $95 billion to $66 billion, with $47.6 billion for Ukraine and $10.4 billion for Israel. He also supported making part of the aid package a loan, an idea Graham attributed to Republican presidential frontrunner Donald Trump.

“I think that’s a winning combination,” Graham told Face the Nation moderator Robert Costa.

A previous border security compromise, negotiated by Arizona Independent Senator Kyrsten Sinema and also unveiled on the CBS news show, failed to advance in the Senate after Republican senators balked in deference to Trump’s opposition. Trump has made immigration one of his top issues and plans to exploit the issue in his political campaign.

Despite deferring to Trump, Graham insisted that he differs from Trump on moving quickly to pass a national security bill with meaningful border security provisions. “President Trump says let’s wait on the border. With all due respect, we cannot wait,” Graham said. “It’s a national security nightmare.”

Face the Nation continues to be the stage
where border security proposals are debuted.

House Border Security Politics
Speaker Mike Johnson, also deferring to Trump, opposed the Senate compromise on border security and declared the Senate-passed national security bill dead on arrival.

To break the logjam, Congressman Brian Fitzpatrick, R-Pennsylvania and co-chair of the Problem-Solvers Caucus, helped shape the Defending Borders, Defending Democracy Act, which is what Graham described in his television interview. Fitzpatrick, who is also co-chair of the bipartisan Congressional Ukraine Caucus, said he would vote for the Senate national security bill, but acknowledged it is stuck in the House.

“The Speaker’s got to manage the [Republican] conference. He’s doing the best he can to do,” Fitzpatrick told Capitol reporters. “But I also think it’s incumbent upon members that, if there’s not successful progress on time-sensitive existential matters, that we do what we have to do to protect our country.” Fitzpatrick called it the “only bipartisan bill on the border and Ukraine in the House.”

The Problem-Solvers Caucus, which consists of a mix of House Republican and Democratic moderates, tried to find the sweet spot on border security by including two major provisions of HR 2 that passed the House with mostly Republican votes. Right-wing Republicans may oppose it for not including all parts of HR 2. Democrats will be upset for including the “Remain in Mexico” provision and excluding humanitarian aid for Gaza and Ukraine.

Connecticut Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro, the ranking Democrat on House Appropriations, said, “We’ve got a bill; it’s got bipartisan support in the Senate. It ought to be sent up [to the House floor] for a vote. … And you know what? It would pass overwhelmingly.”

The pressure on Johnson will intensify following news over the weekend that prominent Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny died under questionable circumstances in a remote Arctic prison colony. Navalny supporters have openly accused Russian President Vladimir Putin of ordering his murder.

Navalny’s death coincided with the Ukrainian retreat from Avdiivka, long considered one of its strongholds that had been encircled by Russian military forces. There also have been reports of Ukrainian frontline soldiers running low on ammunition.

Biden Continues to Push for Passage
President Biden has continued to urge action on a national security package and agreed to the border security provisions in the Senate-passed legislation. He hasn’t reacted publicly yet to the Problem-Solver Caucus compromise or to Graham’s suggestion to turn some of the aid into a loan.

On Face the Nation, Graham said Israel and Taiwan have successful economies and could easily pay back loans. Over time and after repelling Russia, he said Ukraine would also have the means to repay a loan, too. Graham noted a $50 billion aid package just approved by European nations included loans.

Trump referenced turning Ukrainian military aid into a loan at a campaign rally in South Carolina earlier this month.

“Give them the money, and if they can pay it back, they pay it back. If they can’t pay it back they don’t have to pay it back … but if they go to another nation, they drop us like a dog,” he said. “If that happens to our country, then very simply we call [in] the loan and we say we want our money, because we give money and then they go to the other side.”

Observers interpreted his remark as a reference to the unlikely prospect Ukraine would use the money to make a deal with Russia.

The majority of U.S. military aid never leaves the country, but is spent directly on the purchase of American armaments from domestic defense contractors, then shipping the arms to a recipient country.