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Senate Democrats skipping Pence's border trip

Senate Democrats skipping Pence's border trip
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Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee say they are not going on Vice President Pence’s trip to the U.S.-Mexico border this week.
 
Pence announced earlier this week that he was inviting a bipartisan delegation from the Judiciary panel to go with him on Friday to McAllen, Texas, which sits near the border in the Rio Grande Valley.
 
But nine of the 10 Democrats on the panel, or their staff, told The Hill that they are not going on the trip.
 
Sen. Mazie HironoMazie Keiko HironoSenate Democrats push Biden over raising refugee cap Senate tries to shake off graveyard status Lawmakers brace for bitter fight over Biden tax plan MORE (D-Hawaii) — whose spokesman confirmed she would not go on the trip — suggested to CNN's "New Day" that she viewed the Pence trip as political. 
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"I don't want to participate in what is basically the Trump show, the Trump-Pence show," Hirono said. 
 
Sen. Patrick LeahyPatrick Joseph LeahySenate Democrats push Biden over raising refugee cap On The Money: Democratic scramble complicates Biden's human infrastructure plan | Progressives push on student debt relief No designated survivor chosen for Biden's joint address to Congress MORE (D-Vt.), a former chairman and currently a senior member of the Judiciary Committee, appeared unaware that Pence was planning to invite a bipartisan delegation from the committee. 
 
“Oh really? First I’m hearing about it," he said.
  
Spokespeople for Sens. Amy KlobucharAmy KlobucharStrengthen CBP regulations to reduce opioid deaths Why isn't Washington defending American companies from foreign assaults? Republicans float support for antitrust reform after Trump Facebook ban upheld MORE (D-Minn.) and Kamala HarrisKamala HarrisHarris says Mexico, US can work together to improve quality of life in Northern Triangle Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms says 'it is time to pass the baton on to someone else' Harris's uncle discusses COVID-19 surge in India: 'The conditions are pretty bad' MORE (D-Calif.), who are both running for the Democratic Party's 2020 presidential nomination, as well as Sen. Sheldon WhitehouseSheldon WhitehouseJudge's decision on Barr memo puts spotlight on secretive DOJ office On The Money: Incomes, consumer spending soared in March | Harris, senators work behind scenes on jobs package | Biden cancels some border wall construction Harris, senators work behind scenes on jobs package MORE (D-R.I.), said the three senators will not go on the trip. 
 
A spokeswoman for Pence didn't immediately respond to a request for comment about who is attending or if there would be an effort to invite Democrats beyond the Senate panel.
 
Several senators indicated they had scheduling conflicts that would prevent them from going. 
 
 
Asked if he was going, Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) said, "I don't think I can make it." 
 
A spokesperson for the panel's 10th Democrat, Sen. Cory BookerCory BookerBush testifies before Congress about racist treatment Black birthing people face during childbirth, pregnancy Tim Scott sparks buzz in crowded field of White House hopefuls Never underestimate Joe Biden MORE (D-N.J.), who is also running for president, didn't respond to questions about if he will go on the trip. 
 
The lack of Democratic participation comes after Pence announced on Monday that he would be visiting the border with a bipartisan delegation from the Judiciary Committee.
 
“On Friday, @SecondLady & I will travel to the U.S./ Mexico border at McAllen, TX with a bipartisan delegation of members of the Senate Judiciary Committee,” the vice president tweeted Monday afternoon. “The Senate passed bipartisan humanitarian relief - but much more must be done to SECURE our border & end this crisis!”
 
Congress passed legislation to provide more than $4.5 billion in new border money, including nearly $3 billion in humanitarian aide. 
 
But the administration, and their Republican allies, argue further action is needed, including changes to the country's asylum laws.
 
Pence has repeatedly called on Congress to act to improve conditions at the border. He said, “We’ve got to get to the root causes” of the reported conditions in border facilities in an interview last month.

"No American should approve of this mass influx of people coming across our border," Pence told CNN. "I was at the detention center in Nogales, [Ariz.]. ... It is a heartbreaking scene. These are people who are being exploited by human traffickers. ... Congress has to act."