Okla. Senator Lankford Provides Update On Border Policy Negotiations

Oklahoma Senator Lankford updates on the daily progress of border policy talks with optimism for a future deal.

Tuesday, December 19th 2023, 10:12 pm

By: News 9, Alex Cameron


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An agreement on significant border policy reforms, a must-have element for Republicans in a supplemental aid package wanted by President Biden and Democrats, is not going to get done before Christmas, but negotiators say they are confident a deal will get done.

Oklahoma Senator James Lankford, the lead negotiator for Senate Republicans, spoke late Tuesday afternoon with Griffin Media about the status of the negotiations, which he says have been going on daily for nearly the past month.

“We’re still several days away from getting things finalized as we work through all the details,” Lankford (R-OK) said when asked how close the group is to striking a deal. “There’s still some big outstanding issues we’ve got to get resolved.”

Lankford, careful not to betray the private nature of the discussions, wouldn’t elaborate on what those specific issues are, but he acknowledged growing opposition from the most progressive elements of the Democratic party has slowed progress. “Democrats have just got to decide which voice they’re going to listen to,” Lankford said, “and it’s literally day-to-day in our negotiations [which Democratic viewpoint] I’m kind of hearing from across the table.”

Likewise, he admits, he has to remind some disgruntled Republicans on the far right that they are not going to get everything they want, considering the House GOP barely has a majority, while the Senate and White House are each controlled by Democrats. “So, between those three, we’ve got to actually resolve how we’re going to handle border security,” Lankford said. “We all have different perspectives on how to do this -- the worst thing we could do is nothing.”

And that’s especially true now, Lankford says, because, as he points out on social media, migrant crossings continue to break daily records. Nearly 13,000 migrants entered the country Monday, a new record. “It just continues to spiral out of control,” Lankford said, “Some people say it’s not a problem -- it is a problem.”

And that's why, he says, none of the negotiators are planning to go home anytime soon. “We’re going to keep at this as long as we can, meeting face-to-face is much more productive,” Lankford stated. “When we’re done meeting face-to-face and we think we’re at a stage we can do more things by phone, we’ll be able to do that…but our goal is to be able to keep working until we get this done, and our goal is to have this done by early January.”

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