Senate unveils border deal, funding package for Ukraine, Israel

Capitol

WASHINGTON — Senate negotiators on Sunday released details about a sweeping, long-awaited bipartisan border package that also includes funding for Ukraine and Israel.

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The $118 billion national security package has a perilous path ahead, with Republican lawmakers in the House criticizing the deal, The Washington Post reported.

House Speaker Mike Johnson, R-La., has already called the package “dead on arrival,” according to the newspaper. Former President Donald Trump has also opposed the deal.

President Joe Biden praised the package in a statement on Sunday.

“For too long, going back decades, the immigration system has been broken,” Biden said. “It’s time to fix it.

“Now we’ve reached an agreement on a bipartisan national security deal that includes the toughest and fairest set of border reforms in decades. I strongly support it.”

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y. said he would hold the first procedural vote on the legislation on Wednesday, the Post reported.

“Senators must shut out the noise from those who want this agreement to fail for their own political agendas,” Schumer said in a statement on Sunday.

The proposed package would also invest in U.S. defense manufacturing, The Associated Press reported. The bill would also send $14 billion in military aid to Israel and channel $5 billion to allies in the Asia-Pacific theater.

It also would provide humanitarian assistance to civilians caught in the crossfire of war in Ukraine and in the Gaza Strip, according to the news organization.

Sen. James Lankford, R-Okla., the lead Republican negotiator, called the bill’s changes to asylum “dramatic.”

“People come in mass numbers because they’re getting released,” into the United States, Lankford said in an interview Sunday. “If the word gets out immediately that it’s not true anymore, people will come in a more orderly fashion.”

The bill includes a provision that would allow the border to be closed to migrants if crossings had been high for several consecutive days, the Post reported. That provision would be triggered when border crossing reached 5,000 per day for several days, but the president could limit the crossings to 4,000, according to the newspaper.

Johnson announced on Saturday that the House will vote this week on a standalone bill that provides aid to Israel, CNN reported.

Still, Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, an Arizona independent who negotiated the border proposal, told CBS’ “Face the Nation” that the package would be “realistic, pragmatic, and the strongest solution to our border crisis in my lifetime,” according to the AP.

“I feel confident that when our bill passes the Senate and gets to the House, members of the House, including Speaker Johnson, will have had ample opportunity to read, understand the bill and ask questions,” Sinema said.

Biden said the Senate proposal “will make our country safer” and “make our border more secure, treat people fairly and humanely while preserving legal immigration.”

“It would give me, as President, a new emergency authority to shut down the border when it becomes overwhelmed,” Biden said. “It will make our asylum process fairer and more efficient while protecting the most vulnerable.”

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