GOP Block Ukraine Bill Over Porous Border

( – U.S. Senate rejected a $110.5 billion emergency funding bill aimed at assisting Ukraine and Israel with enhanced security measures. The primary reason for the bill’s failure was the opposition from Republicans, who advocate for stricter controls on the U.S.-Mexico border.

The proposal did not secure passage in the 100-member Senate, with only 49 members supporting it and 51 opposing it, presenting a challenge to President Joe Biden’s objective of securing additional aid before the end of 2023.

Senators voted along party lines, with all Senate Republicans, including Senator Bernie Sanders, opposing the bill. Sanders, typically aligned with Democrats, expressed reservations about supporting Israel’s “current harsh military tactics” against Palestinians.

The bill includes approximately $50 billion for new security assistance to Ukraine, alongside funding for humanitarian and economic aid to the government in Kyiv. It also allocates $14 billion to support Israel in its conflict with Hamas in Gaza.

Senate Democratic Majority Leader Chuck Schumer voted “no” to allow for the possibility of reintroducing the measure later. Post-vote, Schumer emphasized the significant risks if Ukraine were to fall, expressing concerns about potential lasting consequences in the 21st century and a threat to Western democracy.

Republicans underscored the need to advocate for stricter immigration policies and border control. On Wednesday, Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell highlighted the importance of the vote, conveying the crucial recognition of Senate Republicans’ concerns. McConnell urged, “Let’s vote and start tackling America’s national security priorities, including those at home.”

Even if the Senate approves the bill, it must still receive approval from the Republican-controlled House of Representatives. Speaker Mike Johnson and many other House Republicans have previously voted against providing aid to Ukraine. Members of Congress from both parties have been in discussions for months on how to address President Biden’s funding request, covering considerations for Ukraine and Israel following the Oct. 7 attacks, U.S. interests in the Indo-Pacific, and international humanitarian relief.

Republicans express heightened concern about the large number of people crossing the southern border illegally from Mexico, citing it as a significant security issue. They demand greater accountability from the Biden administration regarding how U.S. taxpayer money allocated to Ukraine is used.

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