Vote on Bipartisan Border, Foreign Aid Bill Fails

Vote on Bipartisan Border, Foreign Aid Bill Fails

( – Over the last few years, the situation at the Southern border has become an ever-evolving crisis as leaders have debated over how to handle the large number of undocumented migrant crossings. Congress has made the situation a contentious issue since 2021. Several state governors have taken matters into their own hands, and House lawmakers have been refusing to pass appropriations bills without some measure of border control built into the budget. However, now that a bipartisan group of senators has written a proposed immigration measure tied to foreign aid, its future already appears to be dead in the water.

$118B Bill Unveiled

On Sunday, February 4, after months of negotiation, the Senate unveiled a massive bipartisan bill that addresses several critical issues, including border security and funding for Israel and Ukraine. It was the work of Senators James Lankford (R-OK), Kyrsten Sinema (I-AZ), and Chris Murphy (D-CT). It would have invested $118 billion in several expenditures, including, but not limited to:

  • $14.1 billion to Israel, $4 billion of which would support Israeli missile defense capabilities and another $1.2 billion for the country to procure an Iron Beam missile defense system
  • $60.06 billion to Ukraine aid
  • $10 billion in humanitarian assistance to help those in Gaza
  • $20.23 billion to address issues at the Southern border and fund new border policies included in the package
  • $2.44 billion to aid US Central Command in operations related to the Red Sea conflict

It was the most comprehensive immigration package the US has seen in years. However, it immediately faced backlash, notably from former President Donald Trump and the House Freedom Caucus.

Issues on Both Sides of the Aisle

Despite the fact that three different parties helped craft the bill, it faced quite a bit of resistance — including from some Senate Republicans.

In the Lower Chamber, House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-LA) said the measure would be “dead on arrival” when it reached the House for a vote. In a post on X, formerly Twitter, he said the “bill is even worse than we expected” and pointed out that it “won’t come close to ending the border catastrophe [Biden] has created.

On Wednesday, February 7, the Senate voted on whether to advance the bipartisan bill. However, the vote failed, as was expected in the day or so before the meeting was held. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell spoke to reporters ahead of the vote, coming out and expressing his belief that the bill was doomed to fail.

Lankford initially urged his fellow Republicans to actually read the bill to see what’s in it before shooting it down. According to reports, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) asked whether senators would “drown out the political noise from Trump and his minions and do the right thing for America.”

After the vote failed, news outlets reported that Schumer was planning to force a vote on an alternate bill including funding for Israel, Ukraine, and more without the provisions for the border that were intended to bring Republicans onboard.

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