COMPASS: Biden declares COVID over at the border, but not on airplanes

April 4th, 2022

Good afternoon from Capitol Hill. Thanks to Democratic Senator Sheldon Whitehouse for shouting out our election integrity efforts this morning at the Senate Judiciary Committee, and highlighting the work of our friend Tom Jones at the American Accountability Foundation.

On Friday, the administration rescinded Title 42, which allows for expedited deportations at the border during a public health crisis. The Trump administration had activated Title 42 during the COVID-19 pandemic, and the Biden administration has used Title 42 to expel illegal migrants around 1.7 million times.

Title 42 will be lifted on May 23, and is expected to cause a surge in border crossings – which are already at record high levels. DHS officials are preparing for the possibility of 18,000 border apprehensions per day, and roughly 500,000 illegal crossers per month, which is more than twice the average number of daily apprehensions last summer. That’s an estimated five to six million illegal entrants in a single year. And, based on the state of U.S. asylum laws, most will remain here.

Meanwhile, while the Biden administration has declared the COVID pandemic over as it relates to millions of illegal migrants streaming into the country, it is still bizarrely mandating that U.S. travelers continue to mask on public transit, including airlines. Trust the (political) science!

Despite the fact that most states and municipalities have appeared to move on from the pandemic, COVID19 is also still roiling our policy making. Senators are looking to close a deal this week on roughly $10 billion in additional money for COVID19 treatments and vaccines. This line item fell out of the $1.5 trillion omnibus negotiations when progressives revolted against reappropriating unspent funds at the state level to cover the new spending. This time around, lawmakers are looking to claw back other COVID relief dollars that remain unspent. (Here’s a reminder of all the pork that was funded in the last COVID relief bill.)

Finally, the Senate Judiciary Committee will vote at some point today on the confirmation of Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson to the Supreme Court. The committee vote is expected to be tied. While a tie vote would normally kill the nomination, under the rules adopted to govern the tied Senate, the full Senate will vote to discharge the nominee in privileged consideration. The Senate can then vote on her nomination as early as Thursday.

Republican Senator Susan Collins of Maine has stated she will vote in favor of Judge Jackson’s nomination, ensuring her confirmation without the need for a tie break from Vice President Kamala Harris if all Democrats vote in favor, as they are expected to do. Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) has not made his intentions known, but has said the questioning from GOP senators related to Judge Jackson’s pattern of low sentencing in child pornography cases were “off course” and that there was “no ‘there’ there.”

I would beg to differ. In sentencing child pornography cases, Judge Jackson imposed sentences that were 57 percent less than the national average for possession of child pornography, and 47 percent less than the national average for distribution of child pornography. More from me on this and why KBJ’s nomination matters here.

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Get the latest on CPI’s state election integrity summits in Georgia, Arizona, and Florida.