Senators Race To Bring Border Package To Table

Additional aid to Ukraine was stalled in the Senate last week after Republicans blocked the bipartisan aid package that included additional funds for border security and changes in immigration and asylum policies, the Associated Press reported.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer last Wednesday attempted to push for a crucial test vote on the $95 billion foreign aid package with the border measures stripped out. However, the vote got delayed as Senate Republicans huddled on the Senate floor to determine if the conference had enough votes to push the aid package through.

Eventually, the Majority Leader closed Wednesday’s session, saying he would give the Republicans until Thursday morning to “figure themselves out” before the crucial vote.

Pairing border security with foreign aid was first proposed by Republican lawmakers as a way to gain support for the measure in the Republican-controlled House. However, after the proposal was released on February 4, some Senate Republicans rejected the negotiated border measures, arguing that it gave too much away to the open-border Democrats.

Many Senate Republicans who initially expressed support for including a border package in the bill began to distance themselves from the proposal, with some arguing that the issue of border security should be decided in the election.

In a procedural vote on Friday, the Senate voted 64 to 19 to begin debate on a foreign aid bill stripped of the border security provisions.

The vote would allow for several days of debate followed by additional votes.

The Senate was scheduled to go on recess for two weeks starting on February 12. However, Majority Leader Schumer said on Friday that the Senate would continue to work on the aid package “until the job is done.”

If the measure is not approved before the recess, it could get sidelined again as budget negotiations take priority in late February ahead of the March 1 and March 8 deadlines to avoid a government shutdown.