Lawmakers in the United States are quickly approaching a deadline to approve funding for aid to Ukraine and border security.
The United States Congress has only four more days before its holiday break and has not made any progress towards approving the White House’s $60 billion aid request for Ukraine.
Time is running short for legislators to come to an agreement on border security, which Republicans insist must be addressed in order to address their worries about funding foreign conflicts and neglecting domestic priorities.
On Thursday, Senator Lindsey Graham, a Republican, spoke to reporters about the importance of securing our border before being able to aid our allies.
View the video by Patsy Widakuswara that is relevant to this topic.
Senator Graham urged President Biden to uphold current immigration legislation, stating that he would not go back to South Carolina and justify his actions in assisting Ukraine, Taiwan, and Israel while neglecting to address our own border security. He emphasized the importance of prioritizing our own country’s needs before aiding our allies.
The request for aid to Ukraine is included in a $106 billion emergency supplemental request. This also covers military assistance to Israel and Indo-Pacific allies, along with funding for border security as a Democratic priority.
On Thursday, White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre stated that Republicans in Congress are ready to bestow upon Putin the ultimate gift, one that he could only dream of receiving.
On Thursday, senators resumed talks after being unable to begin discussing the additional request with a vote of 49-51 on Wednesday evening.
Senator Jim Risch, the leading Republican on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, stated to VOA that the recent vote has shown Democrats that we are committed to the matter and action must be taken. He believes that we will reach a resolution, as that is the nature of democracy.
The Democrats are opposed to the Republicans’ suggestions for altering the asylum regulations at the U.S. border and are insisting that the White House’s request be viewed in its entirety as part of a larger national security plan.
According to Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, Republicans caused a delay in providing funding to Ukraine by linking it to an unrelated issue of the border. He made this statement on Thursday while on the Senate floor.
The speaker stated that everyone agrees on the significance of border security. He mentioned that President Biden’s proposal contains robust measures for border security. However, he acknowledged that it is a multifaceted and challenging issue that has not been resolved by both parties for a long time.
Earlier this week, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy was scheduled to give a confidential briefing to U.S. senators through a video call, but he unexpectedly canceled. The meeting became heated as Republicans criticized Democrats and Biden administration representatives for not addressing their worries about the border.
On Thursday, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell reiterated his support for providing aid to Ukraine, but stressed that any proposals for border security must be included in order to gain the support of Republicans.
On Thursday, while speaking on the Senate floor, McConnell stated that it is extremely impractical to ignore the fact that national security must involve protecting our country’s borders.
“He stated the importance of addressing the threats to our borders before tackling those faced by other nations. It is crucial to have a clear plan to protect our own sovereignty while acknowledging the dangers posed to other sovereign nations.”
On Tuesday, Brigadier General Pat Ryder, the spokesperson for the Pentagon, stated that there is still $1.1 billion remaining to restock the United States’ military supplies for weapons and equipment that were sent to Ukraine.
Earlier this week, the White House cautioned that the United States only has around $4.8 billion remaining to provide aid to Ukraine. This amount is expected to be depleted by the end of the year.
To be approved, any agreement presented in the Senate, which is currently controlled by Democrats, would also have to be approved by the House of Representatives, where backing for Ukraine has decreased in the past year.
Speaker of the House, Mike Johnson, has stated that he does not intend to prolong the House schedule beyond its final day of session on December 14. In a recent statement, he informed journalists that there are still important concerns regarding accountability and the overall strategy for achieving success in Ukraine.
Several members of the Republican party acknowledge the significance of providing aid to Ukraine as a means of deterrence, but advocate for increased monitoring and supervision.
On Thursday, Republican Congressman Michelle Steel expressed to VOA that there has been a significant amount of spending, in the billions, and it is imperative that there is transparency in terms of where these funds are being allocated and how they are being utilized.
As reported by the Kiel Institute for the World Economy, pledges of aid to Ukraine have reached their lowest point since the start of the conflict in February 2022.
According to the report, there was a significant decrease in new committed aid between August and October 2023. The total value of new packages during this time was only EUR 2.11 billion.
Biden has been actively securing the backing of allies in response to the uncertainty surrounding the approval of the funding on Capitol Hill.
“According to David Cameron, the former prime minister and current British foreign secretary, Great Britain and other European nations will continue to provide support for Ukraine,” stated Cameron in an interview with VOA.
“According to him, the United States is a crucial ally in this matter. With the largest economy and military presence, they are indispensable. Therefore, we must continue to advocate for the impact that additional resources will have.”