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GOP helps Senate pass foreign aid bill, ignores US border chaos

The U.S. Capitol Building. (Dreamstime/TNS)
February 13, 2024

With the help of some Republican Senators, the U.S. Senate approved a $95.34 billion bill early Tuesday morning that was designated as a supplemental national security package in aid to Ukraine, Israel, and Taiwan; however, the bill did not include any funding or measures to address the unprecedented illegal immigration crisis at the southern border between the United States and Mexico.

According to Fox News, the bill was approved with a vote of 70 to 29 early Tuesday morning. Twenty-two Republicans voted for the foreign aid package, while Independent Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Democratic Senators Peter Welch (D-Vt.) and Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) voted against the bill.

While the bill was designated a supplemental national security package, the bill does not include any measures to address America’s own border security. Additionally, Fox News reported that calls by lawmakers to reduce spending in other areas to cover the cost of the additional $95 billion were unsuccessful.

The legislation passed by the Senate includes $60 billion for Ukraine, $14 billion for Israel, $9 billion for Gaza, and roughly $5 billion for Taiwan and America’s other allies in the Indo-Pacific region. The package came after the Senate unsuccessfully tried to approve a national security package last week that included aid for foreign countries, as well as provisions for the southern border and immigration reforms.

READ MORE: Senate border bill a ‘trap’ to ‘boost’ Biden, GOP Rep warns

Celebrating the Senate’s approval of the bill, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) said, “It’s certainly been years, perhaps decades, since the Senate has passed a bill that so greatly impacts not just our national security, not just the security of our allies, but the security of Western democracy.”

In contrast to Schumer’s statement, Senator Rand Paul (R-Ky.) warned that the legislation “gives the finger to American taxpayers.” Prior to the approval of the bill, Paul argued, “This bill gives the finger to all of America — this bill is Ukraine first, America last.”

In a statement released prior to Tuesday morning’s vote, House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.) criticized the Senate for proposing a bill that is “silent on the most pressing issue facing our country.” Johnson suggested that the Senate “should have gone back to the drawing board” and added “real border security provisions” to its previous legislation to “end the ongoing catastrophe” at the southern border.

Hinting that the Senate’s foreign aid bill will not receive a vote in the House, Johnson wrote, “[In] the absence of having received any single border policy change from the Senate, the House will have to continue to work its own will on these important matters. America deserves better than the Senate’s status quo.”