President Joe Biden is scheduled to meet Thursday with U.S. Border Patrol officials and local leaders in Brownsville, Texas, as part of his second trip to the southern border amid what the top House Republican calls the “catastrophe” that has occurred there on Biden’s watch.  

Biden’s trip comes as House Republicans push the president to take executive action to secure the border—by reversing his previous executive orders rolling back border security measures. Biden has taken 89 executive actions to reverse Trump administration border policies since taking office in January 2021, according to the Migration Policy Institute.

Former President Donald Trump last week announced that he would travel the same day to Eagle Pass, Texas, to focus attention on border security. The White House announced Biden’s visit after that.

Biden’s much-criticized previous trip to the southern border was brief and occurred two years into his presidency.

House Speaker Mike Johnson, R-La., spoke to reporters Tuesday at the White House, where he and other House and Senate leaders met with Biden about a spending bill to keep the government operating. 

“I’ve been, I believe, in maybe 20-something states over the last several weeks, going around the country, appearing at events with my colleagues,” Johnson told reporters, “and we’re hearing from the American people of all parties, in all persuasions, in all cities and in all states, who feel this acutely.”

Johnson spoke to reporters outside the White House shortly after he, House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries, D-N.Y.; Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y.; and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., met with Biden. 

“They understand the catastrophe at the border is affecting everyone and it is top of mind for all the American people for that reason,” Johnson said, referring to ordinary citizens. “I brought that issue up repeatedly today in that room. And, again, one on one with the president. I think that’s our responsibility to bring that up. The other big priority for our country, of course, is the funding of our government.”

The House speaker added of the border situation: “I believe the president can take executive authority right now, today, to change that.”

The congressional leaders also spoke about funding for Ukraine during the meeting with Biden, as well as the supplemental spending bill to prevent a partial government shutdown. 

Asked about Biden’s taking any executive actions on border security, White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said Tuesday that it’s not in the plans at this point. 

“We’ve spoken to executive actions. I’ve spoken to that many times,” Jean-Pierre said. “We think the bottom line is, the way to have dealt with this border challenge that we see at the border, that we’ve seen with this broken immigration system, is if Republicans move forward.”

Biden’s press secretary said she didn’t have specific information on what Biden would talk about Thursday in Texas. 

“He’s going to travel to Brownsville, Texas. He’s going to meet with Border Patrol agents, law enforcement, and local leaders, and he is going to discuss the urgent need to pass the bipartisan proposal that came out of the Senate,” Jean-Pierre said. 

The Biden administration has clashed with Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, a Republican, on his state’s increasingly aggressive border security measures to prevent the entrance of illegal aliens.

The Senate’s 370-page, $118 billion bill includes provisions for border security and aid to both Ukraine and Israel. It failed to clear a procedural hurdle earlier this month, and lacks support in the House. 

Many Republicans criticized the bill’s border-related measures as not being strong enough.

Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, said the bill would put the policy of catch and release “into law,” and said the language “normalized 5,000 illegal aliens [crossing the border] a day.” 

The bill would direct the Department of Homeland Security to close the southern border “during a period of seven consecutive calendar days, [if] there is an average of 5,000 or more aliens who are encountered each day.”

“We believe if this proposal, if this legislation, were to become law, it would be the toughest, but also the fairest. It was supported by the Border Patrol union, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce,” Jean-Pierre said.

The president’s spokesperson added:

He’s going to reiterate to congressional Republicans to stop playing politics, to focus on the American people and get this done if they are serious about giving U.S. Border Patrol agents what they need and if they are serious about fixing our immigration system and push politics to the side.

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