Without seeing all border deal details, Speaker Mike Johnson says it is a ‘nonstarter’

(WASHINGTON) — As Senate negotiators neared an agreement on a long-awaited bipartisan border deal, House Speaker Mike Johnson told ABC News Tuesday that while he hasn’t seen the bill yet, the agreement is a “nonstarter in the House.”

“From what we’ve seen, clearly, what’s been suggested in this bill is not enough to secure the border,” Johnson told ABC Senior Congressional Correspondent Rachel Scott. “And we have to insist — we have a responsibility, a duty, to the American people to insist that the border catastrophe is ended. And just trying to whitewash that or do something for political purposes — that it appears that may be — is not going to cut it and that’s a nonstarter in the House.”

The border agreement worked out by Sens. James Lankford, R-Okla., Chris Murphy, D-Conn., and Kyrsten Sinema, I-Ariz., comes as part of a national security spending bill that also includes aid packages for Ukraine, Israel and Taiwan.

On the House floor Wednesday, Johnson criticized the rumored details from the emerging Senate border deal.

“But apparently, we’re concocting some sort of deal to allow the president to shut down the border after 5,000 people break the law. Why is it 5,000? If you add that up, that’d be a million more illegals into our country every year before we take remedial measures. This is madness. We should be asking what kind of enforcement authority kicks in at 5,000 illegal a day. The number should be zero,” he said.

“Anything higher is simply surrender. Anything higher than zero is surrendering our border, surrendering our sovereignty and our security.”

House Republicans have been coming out against the border deal, despite not yet seeing the bill’s full text. This comes as former President Donald Trump has encouraged Republicans to reject the deal.

Trump on Monday said that “a border bill is not necessary,” blasting the ongoing negotiations.

Johnson said he has spoken with Trump about this issue “at length,” but called any allegations that he’s trying to kill the bill to give Trump a win for his campaign “absurd.”

“We have a responsibility here to do our duty. Our duty is to do right by the American people to protect the people the first and most important job,” Johnson told Scott.

During a closed-door meeting with his conference last week, Johnson assured House Republicans that the deal is “dead on arrival” in the House, according to multiple members who were in the room — leaving big questions about the prospect of additional aid to Ukraine.

Rep. Byron Donalds, R-Fla., is among the House Republicans criticizing the bill.

“I think to really clarify what the President [Trump] is saying — that this deal sucks,” Donalds told ABC News. “It’s a bad deal and to give cover to Joe Biden for his terrible policies on the border.”

While Senate Republicans continue to work on the border deal with the Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, House Republicans are working to impeach him.

The House Homeland Security Committee, led by Chairman Mark Green, R-Tenn., brought two articles of impeachment against Mayorkas on Tuesday, arguing the secretary has demonstrated “willful and systemic refusal to comply with the law” and “breach of public trust.”

“Alejandro N. Mayorkas knowingly made false statements to Congress that the border is ‘secure,’ that the border is ‘no less secure than it was previously,’ that the border is ‘closed,’ and that DHS has ‘operational control,’ of the border (as that term is defined in the Secure Fence Act of 19 2006),” the articles claim.

President Biden told reporters Tuesday that he’s exhausted all executive authority to address the immigration crisis at the southern border.

“I’ve done all I can do,” he said as he left the White House.

The president turned up the pressure on Republicans to reach a compromise on Friday, saying he would “shut down” the border when it’s overwhelmed, if given new emergency authority through this deal.

“Give me the border patrol. Give me the people, give me the people who judge it. Give me the people who can stop this and make it work,” Biden said Tuesday.

ABC News’ Justin Gomez, Allie Pecorin, John Parkinson and Quinn Owen contributed to this report.

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