Funding Bill for Ukraine, Israel, National Security — U.S. Sen. Shelley Moore Capito asked her colleagues to adopt a package of border security initiatives that congressional Republicans want to see in a national security supplemental for Israel, Ukraine, and Indo-China spending.
Funding Bill for Ukraine, Israel, Taiwan Stalls in U.S
CHARLESTON — A bill to provide much-needed financing for the Ukrainian war effort, Israel’s struggle against Hamas, and Taiwan’s defense spending encountered a snag in the United States Senate on Wednesday over a disagreement over whether to add funding for the country’s southern border.
Senate Republicans refused the national security supplemental bill the 60 votes required for closure, which would have allowed the full Senate to study the bill and debate modifications.
The language of the national security supplemental was revealed Tuesday by Senate Appropriations Committee Chairwoman Patty Murray, D-Washington.
The $110.5 billion plan includes assistance to Ukraine as it fights a Russian invasion; security assistance to Israel following a strike by the terrorist group Hamas in October; and assistance to Indo-Pacific countries, including Taiwan, concerned about Chinese encroachment.
The law includes funds for domestic munitions and weapons manufacture to replenish depleted stockpiles, as well as humanitarian assistance for Ukrainian refugees and Palestinians displaced by the Israel/Hamas conflict in Gaza.
Funding for the detection and prosecution of fentanyl trafficking, which frequently originates in China and travels via Mexico to the United States, is also included in the supplemental. Additionally, resources for the southern border of the United States with Mexico are needed.
These include cutting down on processing and backlogs of adjudications, helping Central and South American nations stop the flow of people trying to enter the country illegally, and offering more humane methods of handling border encounters.
Senate Republicans, meanwhile, want the national security supplemental to contain stricter border security measures, including giving the executive branch more power to reject asylum requests at the southern border.
Republicans in the United States House of Representatives want H.R. 2 – the Southern Border Transparency Act – to include provisions requiring the resumption of border wall construction, increased border agent numbers, greater use of technology on the border to detect illegal crossings, and the end of catch-and-release policies.
U.S. Sen. Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va., led a group of Republican senators in a floor speech Wednesday afternoon pushing for greater border measures in the national security supplemental. Capito, the Senate Republican Conference’s vice chairman and a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, said the GOP border ideas are nonpartisan and substantive.
“We cannot achieve national security as a whole without securing our borders,” Capito told reporters. “It is critical that border security remains one of our four pillars that must be included in any national security supplemental approved by this Congress.”
“The text before us does not make any policy changes, but instead just throws more money and more money at a broken system,” Capito said. “That is not a solution.” It does not address the actual policies that are fuelling this crisis.”
President Joe Biden urged Congress to enact the national security supplemental before the holiday break in an address delivered Wednesday afternoon. He claimed that Republicans are allowing Russian President Vladimir Putin to escalate his attack against Ukraine by cutting them off from essential weaponry funds.
“I think it is stunning we got to this point in the first place,” he remarked. “The Republicans in Congress are willing to give Putin the greatest gift he could hope for and abandon our global leadership, not just in Ukraine but beyond that.”
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-NY, stated Wednesday that he was willing to allow discussion of Republican minority amendments to the national security supplemental if they voted for closure. However, Republicans must be willing to compromise on some of their desired elements.
“I have promised my Republican colleagues that if they agree to move forward, I will give them an amendment vote for a border package entirely of their choosing, no conditions,” Schumer said on Wednesday.
“This is a fantastic opportunity for Republicans to submit whatever border policy they want, and our side will not interfere in any way with the development of that amendment… Why delay Ukraine’s help if they can’t even provide a border deal that can pass the Senate? “We’re asking ourselves this question.”
U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., said he favored better border security but was unwilling to hold up the national security supplemental and supported closure.
“Commonsense should dictate that we need to secure our border in addition to helping Ukraine and Israel secure theirs,” Manchin went on to say.
“In the greatest country on the planet, we do not have to choose between protecting our homeland and defending our allies.” My support for Israel and Ukraine is unshakable, but it does not outweigh my loyalty to my own country.
“We need major, structural reforms to limit the number of illegal crossings at our southern border and regain operational control,” he added. “I am voting to proceed on this bill because I have received a commitment from Majority Leader Chuck Schumer that we can add amendments to the national security supplemental that will secure our border.”