Senate Republicans are blocking a bipartisan border package, destroying the deal they demanded from Democrats

(Jose Luis Magana/Associated Press)

Senate Republicans are blocking a bipartisan border package, destroying the deal they demanded from Democrats


February 7, 2024

Senate Republicans blocked a bipartisan border package on Wednesday, halting months of negotiations with Democrats on legislation aimed at curbing record numbers of illegal border crossings.

Many Republicans said the election-year compromise wasn’t enough, even as the bill’s supporters insisted it was the best possible in a divided government.

The 49-50 vote, far short of the 60 days it took to pass the bill, came after most Republicans said they would vote against the legislation, which also includes $60 billion in war aid to Ukraine and $14 billion dollar for Israel included and was supported by President Biden. Republican lawmakers had insisted that the money for conflicts abroad would be matched by aid at the U.S. border.

To force confrontation with Republicans, Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer previously said he would try to save war funding, then move ahead with a crucial test vote on tens of billions of dollars for Ukraine, Israel and other US allies. package with the edge portion removed.

The bipartisan group of senators who spent the past four months negotiating the compromise said it was a missed opportunity to try to make some progress on one of the most intractable issues in American politics.

In a speech on the Senate floor just before the vote, Republican Sen. James Lankford of Oklahoma said this was a chance for the Senate to decide whether they were going to do nothing, or something like that.

It’s an issue that, frankly, has plagued this body for decades, Lankford said. It has been thirty years since we have introduced anything into law to change border security.

Independent Senator Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona accused Republicans of not giving the bill a chance.

Finally, it seemed we had a chance to solve the nightmare that has plagued my state for more than four decades, she said.

Four Republicans voted to move forward with the legislation and six Democrats voted against it, some of whom said the border compromise went too far.

It’s unclear whether enough Republicans will vote to move forward with the standalone wartime relief legislation, which would also require 60 votes in the House.


Senate. If the proposal were to pass, it would take days for the Senate to take a final vote.

As some Republicans have grown skeptical about sending money to Ukraine in the war with Russia, Schumer said history will cast a permanent and shameful shadow on those who try to blockade the country.

Will the Senate stand up to brazen criminals like Vladimir Putin and reassure our friends abroad that America will never abandon them in their time of need? Schumer asked as he opened the Senate.

Roughly $60 billion in aid to Ukraine has been suspended in Congress for months amid growing opposition from hardline conservatives in the House of Representatives and the Senate, who view the aid as wasteful and are demanding an exit strategy from the war.

We still need to secure America’s borders before we send another dime abroad, Republican Senator Mike Lee of Utah wrote in a post on X.

The standoff means the US has halted arms shipments to Kiev at a crucial point in the nearly two-year conflict, leaving Ukrainian soldiers without sufficient ammunition and missiles.


Putin has launched brutal attacks.

The Ukraine case still has the support of many Senate Republicans, including Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), but the question on the Legislature’s mind has always been how to craft a package that would pass the Republican-controlled House can purify.

A combination of border policies and aid to allies, first proposed by Republicans, was intended to get the package through the House of Representatives, where archconservatives control. But some Republican senators dismissed the compromise as election year politics within minutes of the bill’s release.

The war funding would also invest in domestic defense production, send money to allies in Asia and free up $10 billion for humanitarian efforts in Ukraine, Israel, Gaza and other places.

Schumer said the updated package would include legislation to authorize sanctions and anti-money laundering tools against criminal enterprises that smuggle fentanyl into the US. A separate piece of compromise border legislation would have provided a long-awaited path to residency for tens of thousands of people. of Afghan refugees was deleted in the slimmed-down bill.

It was unclear whether the new plan, even if passed by the Senate, would receive support from House Speaker Mike Johnson. Republicans in the House of Representatives are still pushing for a border plan, even though they have rejected the deal negotiated in the Senate as insufficient.

We’ll see what the Senate does, Johnson


told reporters Wednesday morning. We let the process play out.

Some were skeptical about the feasibility of a standalone relief package at home.

I don’t see how that moves in this Chamber. I don’t know how the speaker brings that up, said House Armed Services Committee Chairman Mike D. Rogers (R-Ala.), adding that he still wanted a stricter border policy.

After Donald Trump, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, rejected the Senate’s bipartisan border proposal, Johnson quickly rejected it. Trump has also led many Republicans to question support for Ukraine, suggesting he could negotiate an end to the war and praise Putin even after Moscow’s February 2022 invasion of Ukraine.

Johnson said this week he wanted to deal with war aid to Israel and Ukraine in separate packages, but a bill he put forward that included only funds for Israel failed in the House of Representatives on Tuesday evening.

House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.) said Wednesday that the only way forward is a comprehensive approach that includes funding for U.S. allies around the world, as well as support for humanitarian civilians trapped in conflicts in Gaza and Ukraine.

The White House said Biden believes there should be a new border policy, but that he would also support support for Ukraine and Israel alone, as he has done from the beginning.

“We support this bill that would protect America’s national security interests by stopping Putin’s attack in Ukraine before he turns to other countries, helping Israel defend itself from Hamas terrorists and providing lifesaving humanitarian aid to innocent Palestinian civilians ,” said the White House deputy press secretary. said Andrew Bates.

Even as some Republicans in Congress commit to making border security dependent on politics, President Biden will not.

Associated Press writer Seung Min Kim contributed to this report.


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