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Senate Republicans Expected to Block Border Package That Earmarks Billions for Ukraine and Israel

Published: February 6, 2024
Asylum-seekers line up to be processed by US Customs and Border Patrol agents at a gap in the US-Mexico border fence near Somerton, Arizona, on Dec. 26, 2022. (Image: REBECCA NOBLE/AFP via Getty Images)

A number of Senate Republicans are expected to block a bipartisan border package that was released on Sunday (Feb. 4), which, in addition to giving President Biden authority to suspend the bill on an emergency basis, also earmarks billions in military aid for Ukraine and Israel.

The 370-page bill, which has undergone months of negotiations, was originally worth $106-billion, but increased to $118-billion in its most recent iteration. 

The bill, which is not expected to pass, allocates only $20.23 billion for border security, while earmarking $60.06 billion for Ukraine to fight Russia, $14.1 billion in security assistance for Israel, $2.44 billion for the U.S. Central Command and the conflict in the Red Sea, and $4.83 billion to support U.S. partners in the Indo-Pacific “facing aggression from China,” Reuters reported.

In addition, $10 billion would be set aside to provide humanitarian assistance for civilians in conflict zones in Ukraine, Gaza, and the West Bank. The bill bars funds from going to the U.N. agency for Palestinians, UNRWA, after allegations surfaced that some of its staff were involved in the Hamas Oct. 7 terrorist attacks. 

In a statement on Monday, Feb. 5, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said, “The priorities in this bill are too important to ignore and too vital to allow politics to get in the way. The United States and our allies are facing multiple, complex and, in places, coordinated challenges from adversaries who seek to disrupt democracy and expand authoritarian influence around the globe.”

However, by Feb. 6 (Tuesday), the bill was all but dead after several Republicans vowed to vote against a procedural measure to move it forward in the Senate.

Tennessee Republican Senator Bill Hagerty told Fox News Digital on Tuesday morning that “this will not pass” and predicted there would be at least 40 “no” votes in the chamber. 


‘It’s preposterous’

“In 2023, Secretary Mayorkas is assuring us that there is no crisis, that the border is secure. And suddenly, you come into an election year, they say there’s a crisis. They put forward this legislation, ask for more authority, more funds, and frankly, more flexibility — and they say if we don’t go for it, Republicans are now responsible for the crisis at the southern border. It’s preposterous,” Hagerty said. 

The bill was also met with considerable opposition online by several prominent commentators including Glenn Beck who told his over 1.8 million followers on X, “Don’t be fooled. The Senate’s new ‘border bill’ ISN’T a border bill. This is another multi-billion-dollar WAR PACKAGE that gives 3X more to Ukraine than our own border’s protection.”

Beck argued that around $1.4 billion is set aside by the legislation to fund NGOs and municipalities that he says are “fueling the border crisis.”

Tennessee Congressman, Tim Burchett, posted on X, writing, “I wouldn’t vote to give another dime to Ukraine and I won’t vote to let one more illegal alien cross our border. Washington thinks Americans can’t see right through this and per usual – they’re wrong.”

The bill, if passed, would have allowed for thousands of migrants to cross into the United States every day before any action would be taken. 

House Majority Leader Steve Scalise wrote on X, “Here’s what the people pushing this ‘deal’ aren’t telling you: It accepts 5,000 illegal immigrants a day and gives automatic work permits to asylum recipients–a magnet for more illegal immigration.”

Proponents of the bill argue that it would end the controversial “catch-and-release” practice that critics say contributes significantly to the number of illegal migrants crossing into the U.S. over the southern border. 

Republican Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, argued on Monday that Congress needs to take action on the bill and that “the gauntlet has been thrown and America needs to pick it up.”

“It is now time for Congress to take action on supplemental national security legislation that finally meets those challenges head-on,” McConnell said. “This is a humanitarian and security crisis of historic proportions. And Senate Republicans have insisted–not just for months but for years — that this urgent crisis demanded action.”