On 7 February, US Senate Republicans blocked legislation that would have paired tens of billions of dollars in vital assistance for Ukraine and Israel with US border security upgrades earlier demanded by the GOP, according to The New York Times. Despite insisting for weeks those immigration measures be added to the emergency package, Republicans obstructed the compromise bill following opposition from former President Donald Trump.
US Congressional Republicans have been stalling the approval of new aid funding for Ukraine and Israel for months. The lack of military aid degrades Ukraine’s military capabilities, benefitting Russia.
With the initial deal sunk, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer quickly moved to call a vote on a pared-down version focused strictly on urgently-needed defense support and humanitarian aid for Ukraine and other US allies without the extra border enforcement provisions. But Republicans slowed efforts for an immediate vote on the simplified assistance package after flip-flopping from their earlier demands.
“Republicans have said they can’t pass Ukraine without border. Now they say they can’t pass Ukraine with border. Today, I’m giving them a choice,” Mr. Schumer said before the votes.
The failed border security-coupled bill had allotted $60.1 billion in military assistance for Ukraine, $14.1 billion in security assistance for Israel, and $10 billion in humanitarian aid for civilians of global crises, including Palestinians and Ukrainians. Democrats were confident a standalone package without the additional immigration measures could pass with some bipartisan Senate support.
“That would take 60 votes, which would require the support of at least 10 Republicans, a level that members of both parties privately said they believed was achievable,” NYT wrote.
Hard-right GOP members of the House have threatened Mike Johnson’s speakership if any aid for Ukraine passes, presenting another roadblock for the crucial funding.
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