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Senate Advances $95 Billion Foreign Aid Package Amid Border Security Setback

Following the failure of the bipartisan border security deal, the U.S. Senate has moved forward with a separate $95 billion foreign aid package aimed at supporting Ukraine, Israel, and Taiwan.

On Thursday, the Senate voted 67 to 32 to advance the foreign aid bill, setting the stage for a final vote. This package includes $60 billion designated for Ukraine and $14 billion for Israel. Additionally, it allocates billions of dollars to support Asia-Pacific partners like Taiwan in deterring Chinese aggression.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer introduced the bill after the bipartisan border security agreement, totaling $118 billion, was blocked despite extensive negotiations. Schumer emphasized the significance of the aid package, stating, “This is a good first step critical to our national security, aiding our allies in Ukraine and Israel, providing humanitarian relief in Gaza, and supporting Taiwan.”

Schumer revealed ongoing discussions with the White House regarding contingency plans after reports surfaced of former President Donald Trump’s efforts to dissuade Republican senators from supporting the previous bipartisan deal. Schumer asserted, “We knew about a week ago that Trump was involved and said he wanted to politicize this… He preferred chaos at the border, thinking it would benefit him electorally. We realized then that we needed another option.”

The bipartisan agreement on border security aimed to enhance the border’s capacity to detain immigrants, terminate the practice of allowing immigrants to remain in the U.S. during asylum applications, and authorize the temporary closure of the U.S.-Mexico border under certain circumstances. However, conservative Senate Republicans criticized the bill, arguing it falls short of addressing the issue.

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Senator Ted Cruz contended earlier in the week, “This bill doesn’t solve the problem… Joe Biden caused this intentional border crisis with his unilateral decisions.”

The immigration issue, long neglected by Congress and successive administrations, has now become entangled in political disputes in the lead-up to the 2024 presidential election.

With the immigration bill stalled, the Senate is shifting focus to the foreign aid package, with lawmakers expected to introduce amendments related to border security.

President Biden, in a press conference on Tuesday, vowed accountability for the surge in immigration, attributing it to Trump’s policies. He highlighted the existing backlog in immigration courts that allows many undocumented immigrants to stay in the U.S. for extended periods.

However, despite Senate advancement, House Speaker Mike Johnson cast doubt on the bill’s fate in the House, arguing that the immigration restrictions weren’t stringent enough.

Biden urged Congress to pass the broader bill, crafted through months of negotiations, and criticized Trump’s interference, asserting that it was driven by political motives.

Biden warned, “Every day, Americans will learn why the border is not safe—because of Donald Trump.”

Amid concerns over Russia’s aggression, Biden emphasized the importance of providing additional aid to Ukraine, stressing that rejecting such aid would benefit Russian President Vladimir Putin.

“We can’t just walk away now,” Biden declared. “If we don’t support Ukraine, history will never forget.”

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