After Wednesday night saw Senate Democrats scrambling to figure out a way to prevent Senator Mike Lee from tacking an amendment to extend Title 42 authority to their $1.7 trillion omnibus bill, the upper chamber convened on Thursday morning to consider Lee's and other amendments after Schumer had time to get the "fix" in to ensure the border was not any more secure as a result of the massive spending bill.
As Punchbowl News reported, Schumer had Democrats come up with a "side-by-side amendment" also addressing Title 42. That procedural trick gave both Democrats and Republicans a vote, and "cancel[ed] out" Lee's amendment.
NEW — Democrats have drafted and circulated a side-by-side amendment on Title 42. We hinted at this option this am in @PunchbowlNews— Jake Sherman (@JakeSherman) December 22, 2022
This would give Rs and Ds a vote and essentially cancel out the gop amendment.
Lee confirmed that the side-by-side amendment put forward with his was a "wolf in sheep's clothing" meant to mislead Americans into believing the entirely false narrative that Democrats are acting to protect the border and not purposefully making the border crisis even worse.
An amendment by Sens Sinema & Tester is designed to ensure a porous border. A wolf in sheep's clothing to mislead the American people to believe Dems are doing something to secure our borders. It merely provides them cover to vote against my extension of Title 42 protections.— Mike Lee (@SenMikeLee) December 22, 2022
Ultimately, as a result of Schumer's tricks and bullying, Lee's amendment was voted down 50 to 47, short of the simple majority needed to pass the amendment.
Senate defeats amendment by GOP UT Sen Mike Lee to preserve Title 42, 50-47. Needed a simple majority for adoption— Chad Pergram (@ChadPergram) December 22, 2022
Following the vote, Senator Lee shared more information about how Schumer had worked the Senate's system and wielded his power as majority leader to kill the one omnibus provision that would have actually addressed border security.
As he explains it, Lee had secured the votes to pass his amendment with the support of moderate Democrat Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia and newly independent Senator Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona — but Schumer pumped the breaks on Wednesday night, scuttled planned votes, and got to work strong-arming members of his conference into changing their votes and putting forward a phony side-by-side amendment.
1. The amendment saving Title 42 had the votes to pass, with all GOP plus Manchin and Sinema. Schumer then paused the vote clock and twisted arms until both flipped their votes & the amendment failed. Any Republicans previously supporting this awful omnibus should now oppose it.— Mike Lee (@BasedMikeLee) December 22, 2022
2. Without the amendment preserving Title 42, the omnibus hinders border enforcement, leading to a massive expansion of our existing security humanitarian crises on the southern border.— Mike Lee (@BasedMikeLee) December 22, 2022
3. The omnibus is terrible on its own. It’s intolerable with this development. No Republican should support it.— Mike Lee (@BasedMikeLee) December 22, 2022
It's worth noting that Lee's commendable action constituted the most significant fight put up against the woke and wasteful omnibus by Senate Republicans, as GOP leadership was content to inexplicably buddy up with Democrats to force through the 4,000+ page bill while casting doubt that their Republican colleagues in the House would be able to govern.
Those with an "R" behind their name ought to be held to account for every earmarked taxpayer dollar that's going to absurd and wasteful pet projects, not to mention the omnibus' failure to address the border and other crises caused by President Biden's policies.