Senate puts forward new deal on border, Ukraine, and Israel, but Republicans vow to kill it

Washington DC - US senators on Sunday released the text of a much-anticipated deal that would unlock billions in new aid for Ukraine and Israel while tightening US border laws, but the top House Republican quickly vowed to shoot it down.

A bipartisan Senate deal would secure funding for border militarization, as well as tens of billions of dollars in aid for Israel and Ukraine.
A bipartisan Senate deal would secure funding for border militarization, as well as tens of billions of dollars in aid for Israel and Ukraine.  © REUTERS

The national security supplemental provides for $118.3 billion in total funding, including $60 billion to support war-torn Ukraine, matching the White House's request, and $14.1 billion in assistance to Israel as it continues its brutal war on Gaza, according to a summary released by Senate Appropriations Committee chair Patty Murray.

The legislation also includes $20.2 billion for US border security and immigration policy changes agreed to by Democratic and Republican negotiators.

Most significantly, it would give President Joe Biden the power to reject asylum seekers if illegal border crossings reached over 5,000 per week – a figure breached multiple times in recent months.

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Joe Biden Biden and Trump suit up as preparations begin for first televised clash of 2024

"Biden would immediately use this authority – which would mean people coming across the border are generally ineligible for asylum – if crossings were at current levels," a White House official told reporters late Sunday.

It is not clear that the 370-page bill has the 60 backers it will need to advance from the first procedural vote in the 100-seat, Democratic-controlled Senate, expected on Wednesday at the latest.

Its prospects, or lack thereof, are clearer in the Republican-controlled House, with Speaker Mike Johnson quickly saying it would be "dead on arrival" in its current form.

Trump rails against "horrible" bill

Donald Trump has been pressuring Republicans to oppose any bipartisan border bill.
Donald Trump has been pressuring Republicans to oppose any bipartisan border bill.  © REUTERS

Senators have been negotiating for months on the deal to crack down on immigration, with Republicans insisting on more border militarization in return for approving Biden's funding request for Kyiv.

Biden said in a statement that he strongly supports the deal, which would help Ukraine "defend itself against Russia's aggression" and "includes the toughest and fairest set of border reforms in decades."

He urged Republicans, who have been pressured by Donald Trump to oppose the deal, to get behind the bipartisan package.

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"As the leader of our party, there is zero chance I will support this horrible open borders betrayal of America," the ex-president said in a recent speech in Las Vegas.

Biden ran on restoring "humanity" to immigration, ending controversial Trump-era policies that led to families being separated at the US-Mexico border.

His policies have not matched the rhetoric, though, with continued militarization and resumption of construction on the border wall illustrating his lurch to the right on immigration.

Cover photo: REUTERS

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