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McConnell and Border Patrol union back embattled Senate border deal

The Senate’s bipartisan border security deal – wobbling early on its way to the 60 votes it needs to advance later this week – picked up two big public supporters on Monday.

The first was Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), who has long championed the border talks as a means to unlock stalled Ukraine aid that he’s made a top priority. While McConnell’s broader backing of the negotiations was no secret, his public call to pass the deal on the Senate floor marked a critical use of his political capital even as many of his own conservative members slammed the agreement.

“The national security legislation we’re preparing to take up will invest heavily in the capabilities and capacity America and our allies need to regain the upper hand over this emerging axis of authoritarians. Make no mistake: the gauntlet has been thrown. And America needs to pick it up,” McConnell said on Monday.

The second endorsement of the border deal came from the union that represents workers at the Border Patrol – the rare labor group that’s known for its ties to former President Donald Trump, who has urged Republicans to reject the Senate agreement.

Despite its Trump ties, the National Border Patrol Council endorsed the Senate deal in a Monday statement, saying that the bill would “codify into law authorities that U.S. Border Patrol agents never had in the past.”

The deal that’s formally named the Border Act, the product of months-long talks led by Sens. James Lankford (R-Okla.), Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) and Kyrsten Sinema (I-Ariz.), is expected to face a pivotal test vote on Wednesday.

“While not perfect, the Border Patrol Act of 2024 is a step in the right direction and is far better than the current status quo,” the statement read.

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