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Mike Lee’s Legislative Director Erupts at Colleagues Over Border Bill

On Monday, during a weekly meeting of Senate legislative directors (LDs), the LD for Senator Mike Lee (R-Utah) shouted at his colleagues over the widely-panned border bill that several Republicans have been promoting despite its numerous flaws.

According to the Washington Examiner, Ryan Neuhaus had just taken the LD job on Monday before his outburst in the evening meeting, where he denounced the bill as a “betrayal.” In the first of the two weekly meetings, others in the room criticized Neuhaus as “disrespectful” and claimed that he “didn’t read the room.” In the subsequent second meeting, witnesses described Neuhaus as being more “quiet” compared to the first meeting.

“Leadership was trying to sell a bad border bill, and I called them out on it,” said Neuhaus after the fact. “It looks like a growing number of GOP senators agree that it is lousy legislation.”

In a similar incident during another meeting, Lee’s communications (comms) director Billy Gribbin yelled at Senator James Lankford’s (R-Okla.) comms director Aly Beley while she was giving a presentation on the bill during a weekly GOP comms meeting. As Gribbin began deconstructing the legislation both in terms of its content and the rushed speed with which it was crafted, others in the room accused him of “making this personal.” Gribbin stormed out of the meeting echoing Neuhaus’ outburst by shouting “betrayal,” which earned applause from several of his colleagues.

“Conservatives won’t surrender on securing America’s border,” Gribbin said in his own statement. “Not to Joe Biden, and not to this fake, flawed border bill.”

Senator Lee has used the word “betrayal” on multiple occasions when describing the bill, which has garnered widespread conservative backlash due to its failure to secure the border, granting greater authority to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary and the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, and lumping in more aid for Ukraine.

The future of the bill, primarily negotiated by Lankford and several Democrats, is now in jeopardy after both Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and Lankford himself have expressed doubt about the bill being able to pass in the Senate. Speaker of the House Mike Johnson (R-La.) has reaffirmed his opposition to the bill, declaring that it will be “dead on arrival” if it makes it to the House.

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About Eric Lendrum

Eric Lendrum graduated from the University of California, Santa Barbara, where he was the Secretary of the College Republicans and the founding chairman of the school’s Young Americans for Freedom chapter. He has interned for Young America’s Foundation, the Heritage Foundation, and the White House, and has worked for numerous campaigns including the 2018 re-election of Congressman Devin Nunes (CA-22). He is currently a co-host of The Right Take podcast.

Photo: EAGLE PASS, TEXAS - SEPTEMBER 30: As seen from an aerial view a U.S. Border Patrol agent supervises as immigrants walk into the United States after crossing the Rio Grande from Mexico on September 30, 2023 in Eagle Pass, Texas. The agent had cut coils of razor wire to let them pass through for processing. Immigration and border security have become major issues in ongoing negotiations to fund the U.S. government. A recent surge in immigrant crossings has overwhelmed border authorities. (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)