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Speaker Johnson says bill on Ukraine aid, border security 'worse than expected'

by Martin Fornusek and The Kyiv Independent news desk February 5, 2024 1:17 PM 2 min read
Speaker of U.S. House Mike Johnson conducts a meeting on Nov. 7, 2023. (Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images)
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The speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, Mike Johnson, said on Feb. 5 that the recently unveiled bipartisan deal on Ukraine aid and border security is "worse than expected," dashing any hopes of a smooth approval.

The proposal drafted in the Senate was presented on Feb. 4 after months of negotiations. Congress' upper chamber is expected to hold a vote no later than Feb. 7.

The bill totals $118.2 billion, with $60 billion allocated to support Ukraine's security needs. The package also includes $14.1 billion in funding for Israel and over $20 billion for the U.S.-Mexico border.

Senate Republicans managed to extract concessions from the Democratic Party and the White House on stricter immigration policies, but House Republicans call for even more draconian steps.

"I've seen enough. This bill is even worse than we expected, and won't come close to ending the border catastrophe the President (Joe Biden) has created," Johnson said on the social media platform X.

"If this bill reaches the House, it will be dead on arrival," he said, reiterating his earlier statement.

Johnson revealed on Feb. 3 that the House will hold a vote this week on a standalone $17.6 billion aid package for Israel, excluding the aid for Ukraine. This would complicate efforts by Senate leaders to pass the proposed overall bill quickly.

Johnson is considered close to former President Donald Trump, who is the Republican Party's most likely candidate for the 2024 presidential election.

Senator Mitt Romney, a Republican critic of the ex-president, explicitly said that Trump 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," said Romney.

US Senate unveils border deal that includes $60 billion in Ukraine aid
The bill totals $118.2 billion, with $60 billion allocated to support Ukraine’s security needs. The Senate is expected to hold a vote on the bill no later than Feb. 7.
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