The U.S. Senate moved along what is now a $95 billion bill to aid package for Ukraine and Israel on Thursday. Missing from it was a $20 billion amendment that would have been used for security along the U.S. border with Mexico.
Earlier, Sen. Lisa Murkowski expressed frustration with her fellow Republicans for blocking the advancement of the bill on Wednesday over conservatives’ concerns for how the border section of the bill was worded and whether it would actually help secure the border or just guarantee a continuing crisis. She described herself as “pissed off.”
After hours of negotiation, the Senate voted just after noon on Thursday to keep the bill alive, 67-32. The majority of Senate Republicans opposed it, but during this round of voting, Sen. Dan Sullivan joined Lisa Murkowski in voting yes on a procedural motion that allows negotiations to continue.
The bill. now has $60.1 billion for Ukraine, $14.1 billion for Israel, and $10 billion in humanitarian aid for civilians being caught up in global conflicts.
Republicans are still negotiating to get meaningful border security back in the bill. This is a developing story and is likely to change rapidly.
Meanwhile, the White House has blamed Donald Trump and Republicans for the border crisis, and said Immigrations and Customs Enforcement agency will reduce deportations of illegal immigrants if the bill isn’t passed.
White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre told a gaggle of reporters that Republicans were “choosing partisan politics over our national security” because they do not support the bill.
“Here is what that means — ICE would be forced to reduce its removal operations, its total detention capacity, and more,” Jean-Pierre said. “When ICE can’t conduct these operations, our national security and public safety will be harmed.”
The response from conservative Sen. Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee was to the point: “Is Biden the President or a mobster? Attempting to shake down Republicans for a bad immigration bill won’t secure our southern border. It shows Biden can fix the problem that he created.”
Sen. Mike Lee of Utah called the White House statement “extortion.”
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, on the floor of the Senate, said, “We’re going to keep working on this bill until the job is done.”