- Sen. Chris Murphy said in an interview that “no one” is leading Senate Republicans.
- “You can’t make policy if no one is in charge,” Murphy told Politico Magazine.
- The Democratic negotiator’s remarks came after GOP lawmakers blocked the border security package.
Sen. Chris Murphy of Connecticut, the chief Democratic negotiator of the scuttled bipartisan border security package, recently said that “no one is in charge” of the Republican conference after the bill only received four GOP votes in the upper chamber.
Murphy, who spent months working with GOP Sen. James Lankford of Oklahoma and Independent Sen. Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona to design immigration legislation that could pass in the narrowly-divided Senate, told Politico Magazine in a recent interview that he collaborated well with Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell’s staffers.
But Murphy questioned the Kentuckian’s leadership.
“I think they were good-faith actors. They helped get this bill to the point where we could release it on Sunday night,” Murphy said of McConnell’s staffers. “I just think it’s really worrying that the leader of the Republican Party can’t deliver more than four votes.”
“I mean, no one is in charge over there right now,” he continued. “That is not good for the country. That’s not good for the Senate. That’s not good for Democrats. You can’t make policy if no one is in charge.”
The Senate vote on Wednesday failed 49-50. The tally was far short of the 60 votes needed to advance the measure, which also faced a murky future in the GOP-controlled House. While six Democrats opposed the bill, four Republicans — Sens. Susan Collins of Maine, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, Mitt Romney of Utah, and Lankford — backed the legislation.
McConnell voted against the bill, which would have overhauled the US asylum system, among other measures.
Murphy, who also noted former President Donald Trump’s opposition to the bill, said the GOP had to “figure out” who was leading their party in the Senate.
“It’s not up to me who leads them,” the second-term lawmaker told the magazine. “They just need someone to lead them. We can’t make policy if the Republicans don’t have a leader.”
But despite the setback, Murphy told the magazine he remained a “hopeless optimist” regarding the upper chamber.
“We unveiled a massive comprehensive border reform package,” he said. “We didn’t get it passed, but we got further than anyone in 10 years has gotten. … I still believe in the Senate.”