Tuesday, February 6, 2024
Year : 2, Issue : 6
The lead Republican negotiator in a bipartisan U.S. Senate bill to toughen border security said his caucus should decide by Tuesday whether to open debate on the proposal, while his party’s leaders in the House of Representatives urged scrapping the deal.
The Senate legislation, which would also provide aid to U.S. allies including Ukraine and Israel, is due for a procedural vote on Wednesday; 60 votes are needed to move forward with a floor debate.
Republicans are bitterly divided over the issue, with Donald Trump — the frontrunner for his party’s presidential nomination — and House Speaker Mike Johnson loudly voicing opposition.
“If it’s not supported on both sides of the aisle, then we shouldn’t do this,” Senator James Lankford told Reuters, the day after the bill was unveiled following months of negotiations in which he reached agreement with Democratic Senator Chris Murphy and independent Senator Kyrsten Sinema.
The bill includes $118 billion in new spending, including $60.06 billion to aid Ukraine as it fights a Russian invasion, $14.1 billion for Israel in its war against Hamas and about $20 billion for new enforcement efforts along the U.S.-Mexico border.
The legislation would give the government emergency powers to refuse entry to migrants crossing the border or to quickly expel those who had already entered the U.S.
If the bill were passed by the Senate and House, and signed into law by Biden, it would usher in the most significant changes in U.S. immigration and border policy in decades.
Asked during a visit to Las Vegas what was next for the border bill, Biden said “hopefully passage in the Senate.”
But the top four House Republican leaders called for the Senate to nix the agreement on Monday.