WASHINGTON (AP) — Just before the Senate voted Wednesday to kill the border deal he spent the last four months negotiating, Oklahoma Sen. James Lankford climbed a set of marble stairs outside the chamber and joined his wife in the visitors’ gallery.
As the Republican quietly watched from a floor above, briefly the outsider after defending his legislation in a last Senate floor speech, fellow negotiator Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona was down on the floor excoriating the Republicans who had abandoned Lankford, one by one, after insisting on a border deal and asking him to negotiate a compromise on one of the country’s most intractable issues.
“Less than 24 hours after we released the bill, my Republican colleagues changed their minds,” said Sinema, a former Democrat turned Independent. “Turns out they want all talk and no action. It turns out border security is not a risk to our national security. It’s just a talking point for the election.”