‘Read The Bill!’: Republican Rep Ryan Zinke Clashes With CNN Panel Over Biden’s Border Crisis


Julianna Frieman Contributor
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Republican Montana Rep. Ryan Zinke clashed with CNN panelists Friday morning over President Joe Biden’s border crisis.

Zinke hit back against CNN host Kasie Hunt, Biden biographer and New Yorker writer Evan Osnos and CNN commentator Sarah Longwell when pressed on his disapproval of a recent border security bill blocked by Senate Republicans in February.

“I think a lot of Americans are going to be asking over the next few months: ‘Look, there is a bill on the table. Why can’t we get this thing done?” Osnos asked.

“Yeah, there is a bill on the table — it’s called H.R. 2. And the way the process is, the House passed it, the Senate is supposed to pick it up and put amendments on it. That’s the way the process works,” Zinke said. “But when the Senate concocts their own, again, it codifies catch-and-release — we all know that’s a mistake. You gotta process in third countries. You can’t allow 1.5 million people in this country before you take action.”

In May 2023, the GOP-controlled House of Representatives approved H.R. 2, the Secure Border Act. The legislation would have implemented strict border security measures like funding a border wall, setting restrictions on the asylum system and expediting the removal of certain illegal migrants. However, H.R. 2 was stalled out by the Democrat-controlled Senate. (RELATED: GOP Lawmakers Giddy As Fetterman Floats Support For Republican Border Bill)

“The reality is though, is — you are correct about these real process in the House, but this bill was the most realistic possibility to actually make a law because of the way our system is set up. Jump in,” Hunt said, pointing to Longwell.

“Yeah, when was the last time you saw the opportunity to pass an immigration reform this substantial?” Longwell asked.

“By substantial, you mean codify catch-and-release,” Zinke said.

“You mean taking steps forward,” Longwell interjected. “No, I mean taking steps forward on immigration. I mean funding judges.”

“If you believe — number one, what you do is you incentivize illegal crossings. There are hundreds of thousands of people that have processed their application, that have been vetted, that are waiting to come to this country that would be value added. We should focus on people that do it by the law.”

“Do you believe there’s chaos at the border right now?” Longwell asked.

“There is no border. So chaos?” Zinke retorted.

“So does this improve it? Would this bill have improved it substantially?” Longwell pressed.

“No, I don’t believe so. I think it would have codified catch-and-release,” Zinke replied.

“That sounds more like a talking point than an actual substantive critique of of it,” Longwell said.

“Well, I’ll be honest and suggest you read the bill,” Zinke said. “It’s that simple, read the bill and come back and tell me how 1.8 million people crossing the border before you take action is a good deal. That’s more than the population of Montana, Wyoming combined.”

“A very conservative senator thought it was a good deal,” Longwell said.

“Yeah, that’s what I was just gonna say at the end,” Hunt agreed. “And let’s put block on this conversation, Congressman.”

The border security bill recently supported by Democrats would have paired border policy with foreign aid, allocating $60 billion to Ukraine and $14 billion to Israel, according to a statement released by the U.S. Senate Appropriations Committee.