January 5, 2024: The US Senate has unveiled a $118 billion bipartisan deal focusing on border security and aid for Israel and Ukraine. The bill has support from President Biden and an influential section of Republican and Democrat leaders. These include Republican Senator Mitch McConnell and Democratic Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer who have wanted to resupply Ukraine with wartime aid but have been thwarted by other members of the Republican Party.
Schumer who described the package as a “monumental step towards strengthening America’s national security abroad and along our borders” said he would aim to hold a vote on the bill on Wednesday.
“This is one of the most necessary and important pieces of legislation Congress has put forward in years to ensure America’s future prosperity and security,” he said in a statement.
The breakup of the bill will provide $14.1 bn in military aid to Israel: $2.44 bn to address security in the Red Sea and $4.83 bn to support partners in Asia. On the border security side, the bill is expected to allow the president to halt all new asylum claims by migrants unless they arrive at an official port of entry. The bill will also allocate $650 million for further construction of the border wall.
Speaker Mike Johnson spoke on NBC’s Meet The Press that he has tried to involve House Republicans in the negotiations for the Bill in the Senate but has been rebuffed. Immigration is a key plank for the upcoming elections and former president Donald Trump has disregarded the current provisions as inadequate.
Speaking on Sunday, President Biden has urged Congress to “swiftly pass” the deal so he could sign it into law. He warned Republicans opposing the bill that “doing nothing is not an option”.
“Now we’ve reached an agreement on a bipartisan national security deal that includes the toughest and fairest set of border reforms in decades. I strongly support it,” Biden said in a statement.