12-6-2023, 4:07 PM

Senate GOP refuses aid package for Israel and Ukraine due to border security dispute

Senate Republicans blocked aid for Israel and Ukraine in a key vote on Wednesday over a border security policy dispute, which threatens to derail the aid.

The procedural vote was 49 to 51, missing the 60-vote threshold. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer voted “no” at the end of the vote, allowing him to bring up the measure again.

Republicans insist foreign aid must be paired with major border security policy changes. Despite talks, no bipartisan agreement has been reached on the contentious issue.

The stalemate occurs amid Israel's war against Hamas and Ukraine's offensive against Russia. This week, the White House warned that Ukraine's funding is running out and that failing to agree on more aid will endanger national security.

Prior to the vote, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said Republicans would block the bill because it does not adequately address border security.

Senate Republicans will deny cloture on a bill that doesn't address America's top national security priorities. As we've said for weeks, legislation without border security policy changes will not pass the Senate," he said on the Senate floor.

Schumer warned Tuesday that “without more aid from Congress, Ukraine may fall, democracy in Europe will be imperiled and those who think Vladimir Putin will stop merely at Ukraine willfully ignored the clear and unmistakable warnings of history.”

In an emotional speech on Wednesday, President Joe Biden urged Congress to pass Ukraine aid.

“Make no mistake: today’s vote is going to be long remembered. And history is going to judge harshly those who turned their back on freedom’s cause. We can’t let Putin win,” Biden said.

Senate Democrats released legislation for a $110 billion security assistance package that includes funding for Israel and Ukraine and Gaza civilian aid, among other priorities. The bill includes border security provisions, but no bipartisan agreement has been reached.

The GOP-controlled House approved $14.3 billion in Israel aid in November. Democrats opposed the bill because it cut IRS funding and did not provide Ukraine aid.

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