Mike Lee’s Legislative Director Expresses Strong Discontent with Colleagues Regarding Border Bill

Credits: KSL NewsRadio

During the weekly meeting of Senate legislative directors (LDs) on Monday, an intense confrontation unfolded as Ryan Neuhaus, the LD for Senator Mike Lee (R-Utah), vehemently criticized the widely-criticized border bill supported by several Republicans.

The Washington Examiner reported that Neuhaus, who had assumed the LD position earlier that day, labeled the bill a “betrayal.” The first meeting witnessed strong objections to Neuhaus’s outburst, with some characterizing him as “disrespectful” and asserting that he “didn’t read the room.”

Witnesses noted Neuhaus being more subdued in the subsequent meeting than his initial outburst. Post the incident, Neuhaus explained, “Leadership was trying to sell a bad border bill, and I called them out on it. A growing number of GOP senators agree that it is lousy legislation.”

Mike Lee (Credits: Screensoft)

In a parallel incident during another meeting, Billy Gribbin, Senator Lee’s communications director, clashed with Aly Beley, Senator James Lankford’s (R-Okla.) communications director, during a weekly GOP communications meeting.

While deconstructing the bill’s content and the hurried manner in which it was crafted, Gribbin faced accusations of “making this personal.” Exiting the meeting, Gribbin echoed Neuhaus’s sentiments, shouting “betrayal,” which garnered applause from some colleagues. Gribbin emphasized, “Conservatives won’t surrender on securing America’s border. Not to Joe Biden, and not to this fake, flawed border bill.”

Senator Lee has consistently used the term “betrayal” to describe the bill, which has faced widespread conservative backlash for its perceived failure to address border security concerns, its grant of increased authority to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary and the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, and its inclusion of additional aid for Ukraine.

The bill’s fate, primarily negotiated by Lankford and several Democrats, now hangs in the balance. Doubts raised by both Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and Lankford himself about the bill’s chances of passing in the Senate have added to the uncertainty.

Speaker of the House Mike Johnson (R-La.) has reiterated his opposition to the bill, asserting that it would be “dead on arrival” in the House if it manages to clear the Senate. The internal strife and strong dissent within Republican ranks underscore the challenges and divisions surrounding the contentious border bill, leaving its future in flux.

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