Top Republican warns House GOP on border talks: ‘Wishful’ to ‘get everything you want’

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The No. 3 House Republican is calling on GOP colleagues to be realistic about their expectations for border negotiations between the Senate and White House. 

“I think they should be bringing H.R. 2 back. That would seal the southern border, and that should be a Republican-Democrat priority. But if they don’t bring it back in full, we just have to see what it is that they are bringing,” House Majority Whip Tom Emmer, R-Minn., told Fox News Digital Tuesday.

It’s still unclear whether the bipartisan Senate group working on the border security deal with the White House will produce any results. 

Speaker Mike Johnson, R-La., has made clear House Republicans back H.R.2, the border bill they passed last summer. Democrats panned it as a “non-starter.”

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House Majority Whip Tom Emmer is calling on GOP colleagues to be realistic about their expectations for the border negotiations between the Senate and White House.  (Getty Images)

Some GOP hardliners in the House and Senate have signaled they will oppose anything less than H.R. 2, which includes provisions like Remain In Mexico and new border wall construction.

But Emmer warned his colleagues to view H.R. 2 as a starting point in the negotiations rather than the only option.

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“Our members get that we control one-half of one-third of the government. We don’t have everything, so, you know, to get everything you want may be a little bit wishful,” Emmer said. “But that’s where we start. We start with H.R. 2, and then show us what you got, and we’ll figure it out from there.”

President Joe Biden

President Biden’s administration is negotiating with the Senate on border security (Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

Asked if he was optimistic that a border security compromise could pass both the GOP-controlled House and Democrat-controlled Senate and then be signed by the White House, Emmer said he was “always hopeful.”

But he warned that certain details that have purportedly been leaked would face opposition. For instance, a reported proposal that would give border agents the authority to expel migrants on sight after 5,000 daily encounters has faced heat from Republicans.

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“If this administration and the Senate think that even one illegal coming across the southern border makes sense, you’re not going to get agreement from our guys,” Emmer said. “If those rumors are accurate, well, it’s going to be really hard for them to pass the House.”

Speaker of the House Mike Johnson

Speaker of the House Mike Johnson has said the House GOP’s default position is H.R. 2 (Kent Nishimura/Getty Images)

And while he was pleased the Biden administration was even discussing the border crisis, Emmer accused President Biden of only paying attention to it as an election-year issue.

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“The only reason they’re talking about it now is because it has risen to the point that it is a political liability for their re-election,” Emmer said. “This is no longer Republicans or Democrats. This is Republicans and Democrats and others. More than 60% of the citizens in this country, by some polling, believe the border is a problem, and it needs to be solved. That’s the only reason they’re talking about it.”

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