Sen. James Lankford (R-Okla.) pushed back on tech billionaire Elon Musk’s criticism of the recently unveiled bipartisan border deal, saying he should keep his focus on recalled Tesla vehicles instead of the legislation.
Lankford doubled down on the proposed bill Monday on CNN’s “The Lead with Jake Tapper,” explaining that Musk’s description of the bill was inaccurate because it does not include text that would allow those living in the U.S. illegally to vote. He also slammed the Tesla CEO for his company’s recent recalls on nearly 2.2 million electric vehicles due to a software fix.
“The long-term goal of the so-called ‘Border Security’ bill is enabling illegals to vote! It will do the total opposite of securing the border,” Musk wrote on X, the platform formerly known as Twitter — which the billionaire purchased in April 2022.
In response, Lankford said “I think he needs to go back to doing the 2 million Tesla’s that are currently being recalled right now, to be able to focus in on that,” Lankford said.
“It’s not focused on trying to be able to get more illegals to vote,” the senator added about the deal. “That’s absurd.”
Bipartisan Senate negotiators unveiled the border security deal over the weekend after months of discussions. Lankford, the chief GOP negotiator on the border security deal, has been defending the proposed bill as it was swiftly met with a swath of criticism from conservatives.
The legislation includes measures to raise the standard for asylum screens and to process claims faster. It also closes the loopholes that allow for parole or “catch and release” and gives new authority to close the border after a certain number of people cross into the U.S.
Even if the deal passes the Senate, Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.) and House GOP leadership have said it is “dead on arrival” in the lower chamber.
“This bill is even worse than we expected, and won’t come close to ending the border catastrophe the President has created,” Johnson posted Monday on X.
The Hill has reached out to Tesla for comment.
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Author: Lauren Sforza