It is likely that a deal for Ukraine aid and border security in Congress will be reached within a week.
On Tuesday, American legislators stated that they are close to reaching an agreement on border security in exchange for Republican support in providing approximately $60 billion in aid to Ukraine. However, it is unlikely that the announcement will be made this week.
The global community is observing and wondering: Will the United States support its allies? Senator Chris Murphy, a key figure in the negotiations, stated to the press on Tuesday. “Will the United States defend democracy? Will the United States uphold the post-World War II system? Or will we abandon our allies, democracy, and global standards?”
The White House has requested a national security supplemental budget of $106 billion, which covers funding for border security and provides nearly $14 billion in aid to Israel. Additionally, there is funding allocated for Taiwan to address the threat from China.
“This is a unique opportunity where divided government has given us an opportunity to get an outcome,” Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said Tuesday. “Virtually all of my members have said to their constituents for a long time, ‘We need to fix the border.’ This administration is not going to do it unless we force him to.”
Biden is requesting $60 billion.
Since Russia’s full-scale invasion in February 2022, the United States has allocated over $100 billion towards equipping and aiding Ukraine. President Joe Biden has also requested for an additional $60 billion from Congress. However, some Republicans in Congress have grown doubtful about the necessity of continuing to fund Ukraine’s defense.
On December 27, the Pentagon declared a fresh security aid deal worth $250 million for Ukraine. This package includes extra ammunition for surface-to-air missile systems, artillery rounds, and air defense components. While the Pentagon still has $4 billion to offer in military assistance to Ukraine, there are currently no funds to replenish the U.S. military’s supplies.
On Tuesday, Celeste Wallander, Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs, stated that the Ukrainian government and Ministry of Defense have expressed concerns about their units lacking necessary supplies and ammunition.
“This is one of the reasons why we have prioritized responding to Congress’s inquiries, enabling them to make progress in passing the supplemental.”
Republicans have outlined requirements for agreeing to provide assistance.
The Republican party in the Senate has made it a requirement to approve any extra funds for Ukraine that there is also an improvement in immigration regulations. The goal is to decrease the amount of individuals who unlawfully cross into the United States from its southern border and to deport some who are already residing in the country.
In December 2023, it was reported by various news sources that approximately 300,000 individuals crossed the border between the United States and Mexico. This is the largest number of border crossings ever recorded between the two countries.
Although a Senate approval may be obtained, it is uncertain if it will be successful in the House due to the slim majority held by Republicans. A notable faction of Republican House members are against providing further assistance to Ukraine and the party recently removed a speaker who worked with Democrats to pass bills in early October.
In the beginning of this month, House Speaker Mike Johnson headed a group of 60 House Republicans to tour the Eagle Pass, Texas border between the United States and Mexico.
According to Johnson, at a press conference about the border, if President Biden intends to propose a supplementary spending bill that prioritizes national security, it should start with protecting America’s national security.
The Republican party has put forward a bill, H.R. 2, that would restart the building of a wall along the border and implement additional limitations for those seeking asylum.
Carla Babb made a contribution to this report.