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CNN: Key US senators agree on border-Ukraine aid deal, to be unveiled next week

by Martin Fornusek and The Kyiv Independent news desk January 27, 2024 9:46 AM 2 min read
The U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C. on Dec. 13, 2023. (Jemal Countess/Getty Images for Congressional Integrity Project)
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U.S. Senate negotiators had agreed on a deal that significantly restricts illegal migrant crossings at the southern border while also unblocking assistance for Ukraine, CNN reported on Jan. 26, citing undisclosed sources.

The deal, expected to be unveiled as early as next week, is likely to face stiff opposition in the House of Representatives, where Speaker Mike Johnson reportedly warned it would be "dead on arrival."

The supplemental funding request of over $110 billion, including around $61 billion for Ukraine, has been stuck in Congress since autumn 2023. Senate Republicans blocked the approval of the package last month, largely over concerns the bill did not contain border security measures.

To move the package forward after months of negotiations, Democrats have reportedly made several concessions when it comes to immigration policy and border security.

According to the new deal, U.S. authorities would have the right to shut down the border in case of a high number of migrant encounters, CNN said. The asylum process is to be sped up, providing six months to consider cases of asylum seekers instead of 10 years under the current system.

The deal was supported by U.S. President Joe Biden, who hopes to secure aid for Ukraine and deflect criticism over his border policy ahead of this year's election.

"What's been negotiated would – if passed into law – be the toughest and fairest set of reforms to secure the border we've ever had in our country," Biden said on Jan. 26.

"It would give me, as President, a new emergency authority to shut down the border when it becomes overwhelmed. And if given that authority, I would use it the day I sign the bill into law."

Although all details of the proposed package have not been made public, it has already attracted harsh criticism from former President Donald Trump, who is likely to win the Republican Party's nomination for the upcoming presidential run.

While not speaking out against the aid for Ukraine itself, Trump urged his Republicans not to accept anything short of a "perfect deal" on border security. House Republicans have demanded even stricter measures than their colleagues in the Senate, which are unlikely to pass through Democrats.

Senator Mitt Romney, one of the few Republican senators openly opposed to Trump, explicitly said that the former president was trying to prevent any potential deal in order to keep the issue active in his electoral campaign.

"He's contacted members of Congress telling them that he doesn't want a border deal because he wants to run on this issue. Appalling," said Romney.

Border concerns take over after Trump’s primary victories, Ukraine aid in question
Former President Donald Trump’s commanding primary victories have brought the race to the brink of a rematch with President Joe Biden, and caused concern that aid for Ukraine is not a priority for Republicans.
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