J.D. Vance Takes on the GOP’s Senate Establishment

What’s happening: Senator J.D. Vance (R-OH) recently alleged there is a GOP Senate leadership plot to pass a nearly $100 billion foreign aid bill, with roughly $60 billion of Ukraine aid, at the expense of pushing for border security. Vance discussed this at length in a piece for The American Conservative (TAC).

The allegation: Late last year, GOP senators and representatives demanded any new Ukraine aid be paired with border security. Vance is now arguing that GOP leadership set up a weak bill they knew would fail; then, when GOP hardliners opposed it, they could say “We tried,” and pass the aid bill without border provisions.

Why it matters: It is rare for Senate leadership to be critiqued this harshly by lower-ranking senators, indicating that this is a particularly divisive issue for the GOP caucus.

  • However, Vance seems to be correct: McConnell, one of the longest-serving and more politically astute senators, likely recognized that the originally pitched border security product was dead on arrival.

  • Keep in mind: Biden could secure the border tomorrow if he wanted to — which GOP leadership is aware of amid their attempts to pass new legislation.

Not just Vance: Vance’s piece in TAC was followed by another from Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) and an interview with Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY), making the case against further Ukraine aid.

  • Still, while the three are outnumbered in the Senate (the Ukraine aid bill passed with 70 votes), their views on passing the bill without border security are shared by a majority of GOP senators, as 30 out of 49 voted against it.

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