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Senate Republicans ready to kill Ukraine aid deal

by Abbey Fenbert February 7, 2024 1:00 AM 3 min read
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell speaks to reporters after a closed-door lunch meeting with Senate Republicans at the U.S. Capitol Oct. 24, 2023 in Washington, DC. (Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
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Republicans in the U.S. Senate are prepared to kill the recently released border deal that includes $60 billion in security assistance for Ukraine, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell announced on Feb. 6.

"We have no real chance here to make a law," McConnell said.

Senators on Feb. 4 revealed the details of an agreement on U.S. border policy and foreign aid following months of closed-door negotiations. U.S. aid to Ukraine has been stalled since fall 2023 as Republican legislators demand concessions on border security, or oppose funding Ukraine's defense outright.

The Senate deal, led by Republican James Lankford, allocates $60 billion in security assistance to Ukraine. It also includes aid to Israel, and stringent restrictions on immigrants and asylum seekers at the U.S.-Mexico border.

The bill is scheduled for a Senate vote on Feb. 7. According to McConnell and other senators, the law has no chance of garnering the 60 votes needed to block a Senate filibuster and advance.

"We had a very robust discussion about whether or not this product could ever become law. And it’s been made pretty clear to us by the Speaker that it will not become law," McConnell told reporters.

Biden urges Congress to pass Senate aid package
“Get it to my desk so I can sign it immediately,” Biden said of the new bill, which allocates $60 billion in additional funds to Ukraine.

U.S. House Speaker Mike Johnson, a hard-line Republican and supporter of former President Donald Trump, has said any agreement on the border would be "dead on arrival."

Trump, the likely Republican nominee in the 2024 presidential elections, came out against the Senate deal even before the details of the agreement were released.

"I would expect that the motion to proceed to the bill will fail," said Senate Minority Whip John Thune, referring to the Feb. 7 vote.

Democrats involved in the Senate negotiations affirmed that the motion would not advance.

"As it turns out, Republicans don’t want to fix the problem," said Sen. Chris Murphy, the lead Democratic negotiator.

The prolonged partisan conflict in Congress means that crucial funds have stopped flowing to Ukrainian troops.

French President Emmanuel Macron said on Jan. 30 that Europe must be prepared to support Ukraine's defense even if U.S. aid continues to falter.

"We must be ready to act to defend and support Ukraine whatever it takes and whatever America decides," Macron said.

Opinion: Protecting Ukraine aid from Western political dysfunction
With each passing day, it becomes increasingly evident that Western support for Ukraine has become ensnared in various domestic and geopolitical developments that have nothing to do with Ukraine’s struggle to defend itself. As Russia’s war of aggression approaches its second anniversary, it is cruci…

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12:38 AM

US Ambassador: 'There's no time to lose.'

The U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Bridget Brink told reporters on Feb. 20 that the U.S. does not "have a plan B" when it comes to the supplemental aid package currently being debated in Congress "because we're focused 100% on plan A."
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