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Bloomberg: Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer plans to push vote on Ukraine, Israel aid separate from border policy

by Elsa Court and The Kyiv Independent news desk February 7, 2024 6:17 PM 2 min read
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer speaks at a news conference after a weekly policy luncheon with Senate Democrats at the U.S. Capitol Building in Washington D.C. on Feb. 6, 2024. (Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images)
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Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer plans to push a vote on aid for Ukraine, Israel, and Tawain separate from U.S. border funding, Bloomberg reported on Feb. 7, citing a senior Democratic aide.

Since fall 2023, partisan infighting has stalled a supplemental funding bill that includes $61 billion in aid for Ukraine. Republicans have blocked the passing of the bill, insisting that further military aid must include significant changes to U.S. border policy and support for Israel.

Intensified border security measures were integrated into the aid deal in an attempt to expedite the passage of aid for Ukraine.  Republicans in the House of Representatives, including House Speaker Mike Johnson, have stated that newly developed provisions are insufficient.

The U.S. House of Representatives then failed on Feb. 6 to pass a standalone $17.6 billion aid package for Israel that excluded funding for Ukraine. Johnson introduced the aid package on Feb. 3, signaling deepening resistance to Ukraine aid among hard-line Republicans in Congress.

A procedural vote in the Senate on a separate bill, which includes Ukraine aid, funds for Israel, and dramatic changes to U.S. border policy, is scheduled on Feb. 7. Senators announced on Feb. 6 that despite months of bipartisan negotiations, the bill had no chance of passing.

Schumer reportedly has the backing of leading Republicans to push a Ukraine and Israel aid bill without changes to border policy.

The "Plan B" bill would be a "reversal from months of demands by Senate Republicans that any security spending bill must address the record surge of migrants at the US border," but has a "strong chance" of passing the Senate, Bloomberg said.

The bill's path in the House of Representatives will be more challenging, given the increasing opposition among Republicans to Ukraine aid.

House Speaker Mike Johnson "could insist no vote be taken on it unless the Senate passes a GOP wish list of immigration changes," but Democrats could in turn force a vote "via a rarely used parliamentary procedure if enough Republicans who support Ukraine join them," Bloomberg said.

White House: EU funding for Ukraine no substitute for US leadership in military assistance
“But it’s not a substitute for American leadership when it comes to security assistance. And that is why it’s so critical for us to continue to urge Congress to pass that national security supplemental,” U.S. National Security Council spokesperson John Kirby said.
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