HomeForeignUS Senate Unveils $118bn Bill For Border Security And Ukraine, Israel Aid

US Senate Unveils $118bn Bill For Border Security And Ukraine, Israel Aid

The US Senate has unveiled a $118 billion bipartisan border security bill that would also provide aid to Ukraine and Israel, but it promptly slammed into opposition from the House of Representatives.

“I urge Congress to come together and swiftly pass this bipartisan agreement,” President Joe Biden said, also praising the migration measures in the bill, which took months to negotiate but got the Legislators’ nod on Sunday.

However, House of Representatives Speaker Mike Johnson declared it “dead on arrival” if it reaches his chamber.

“This bill is even worse than we expected, and won’t come close to ending the border catastrophe the president has created,” he said in a statement on X, formerly called Twitter.

The Democratic and Republican Senate backers of the wide-ranging US border security and foreign military aid bill pledged to push ahead, despite opposition by Donald Trump as well.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said he would take steps to hold an initial vote on the bill on Wednesday.

If the bill were to become law, it would mark the most significant changes in US immigration and border security in decades.

Some progressive Democrats are angry the measure does nothing to provide a pathway to citizenship for the 11 million undocumented people who have lived in the US for many years, including “Dreamer” immigrants who were brought in as children.

Independent Senator Kyrsten Sinema told reporters the legislation would secure the US southern border, including by requiring the Department of Homeland Security to temporarily “shut down” the frontier to most migrants if there are an average of more than 5,000 crossing attempts per day over seven days.

Republican Senator James Lankford, one of the negotiators on the bill, said that the border likely would remain closed for at least three weeks as the numbers of arriving immigrants drop significantly.

In addition to $20.23 billion for border security, the bill included $60.06 billion to support Ukraine in its war with Russia, $14.1 billion in security assistance for Israel, $2.44 billion to US Central Command and the conflict in the Red Sea, and $4.83 billion to support US partners in the Indo-Pacific facing aggression from China, according to figures from Senator Patty Murray, who chairs the Senate’s Appropriation Committee.

An additional $10 billion would provide humanitarian assistance for civilians in conflict zones including in Ukraine, Gaza and the West Bank, although the bill includes a provision barring its funds from going to the U.N. agency for Palestinians, UNRWA. The Biden administration and other nations have paused funding to the agency over allegations that some of its staff were involved in Hamas’ Oct. 7 attacks in southern Israel.

REUTERS

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