Plus, some top Republicans said it wasn’t just a matter of a few modifications to the text. They said it was time to move on to the ballot box.
“Joe Biden will never enforce any new law and refuses to use the tools he already has today to end this crisis,” Senator John Barrasso of Wyoming, the No. 3 Senate Republican, said Tuesday in a statement announcing his opposition. “I cannot vote for this bill. Americans will turn to the upcoming election to end the border crisis.”
Mr. Barrasso’s statement was just the latest indication that the looming election — and Donald J. Trump’s tightening grip on the party as the expected nominee — had made Republican approval of the border deal all but impossible. Mr. Trump trashed the bipartisan proposal quickly after it was rolled out, and senators who embraced it risked running afoul of him and his supporters.
In the House, Speaker Mike Johnson and his leadership team made it clear they wanted nothing to do with the Senate bill. So even some Republicans who might be inclined to support it could choose not to, avoiding a tough vote for a measure that had no prospect of making it out of Congress.
For Mr. Johnson, opposing the measure represented part of the delicate balancing act he is attempting. He has so far managed to hold at bay the archconservatives unhappy with the bipartisan spending deals he has struck to keep the government open. But allowing a vote on the border-Ukraine package could spark their ire to the point where he would face a challenge to his post as well.