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Congressional gridlock on a border deal, Donald Trump presiding

Light filtered through the US Capitol rotunda at sunset on Capitol Hill in Washington on Feb. 7. After Republicans rejected a version of the aid deal that paired it with stringent border security measures they had wanted, Democrats worked to advance a measure just delivering the aid.HAIYUN JIANG/NYT

Our legislators in Washington must remember that there is only one president of the United States at any time. Today that president is Joe Biden. When a bipartisan group of senators approaches “a once-in-a generation opportunity for a conservative border security bill,” as New York Times reporter Annie Karni wrote (”Opposition by Trump likely dooms possible border deal,” Page A1, Jan. 27), they should act. Instead, the border package has been all but abandoned (”GOP blocks border, aid bill,” Page A2, Feb. 8).

Immigration policy has been in need of reform for decades. Donald Trump is not the president; his self-serving interest in scuttling the deal should not derail the work of the Biden administration or Congress to get something done now. The next presidential election is about nine months away. That is nearly 20 percent of a four-year presidential term. As an American, I find it repugnant that Republican lawmakers would shrink from their responsibility to act because of the political agenda of one man.


This is shades of the handling of the nomination of Merrick Garland to the Supreme Court during the last year of Barack Obama’s second term. Mitch McConnell, then Senate majority leader, refused to allow the process to move forward, saying that the vacancy should be filled by the next president. That was an unacceptable and self-serving argument then, and it is just as troubling to me today to think that O’Connell, now minority leader, cannot summon the support of his party.

R.M. Latanision