Biden hopeful for bipartisan package in Senate on U.S.-Mexico border next week

By Andrea Shalal and Katharine Jackson

(Reuters) -President Joe Biden signaled on Friday that he is hopeful a deal over the U.S.-Mexico border could be worked out next week at least in the Democratic-controlled Senate, and said he was ready to embrace “massive changes.”

Republicans in Congress have blocked emergency funding for Ukraine in an effort to push new security policies along the U.S.-Mexico border. They blame Biden’s policies for an influx of immigrants into the United States.

“I think next week we’re going to be able to work out something, at least in the Senate, and I’m hopeful that it’s going to be a bipartisan package,” Biden told an audience of mayors gathered at the White House.

“Now the question is for the speaker and House Republicans, are they ready to act as well?”

In the House of Representatives, where Republicans hold a slender majority, some hardline members have threatened to try to oust Speaker Mike Johnson if he brings a border security deal to the floor as part of a package that would also include aid to Ukraine.

On Friday, Biden acknowledged that change was needed in immigration policy.

“I’m ready to solve the problem, I really am – massive changes, and I mean it sincerely,” he said. “I believe we need significant policy changes at the border, including changes in our asylum system.”

Biden did not elaborate, but later told reporters that the border was not secure.

White House spokesperson Karine Jean-Pierre told reporters earlier that negotiations with Republican and Democratic senators had been productive and encouraging, but declined to provide details.

(Reporting by Andrea Shalal and Katharine Jackson; writing by Costas Pitas; Editing by Caitlin Webber and Leslie Adler)