AUSTIN (Nexstar) — Senators on Capitol Hill face a stalemate over a funding plan that would provide billions of dollars in military and foreign aid to Ukraine and Israel. The impasse comes as Republicans are demanding tougher border security policies in exchange for their support of the aid package.
A classified briefing Tuesday for senators to discuss the White House’s request for Israel and Ukraine aid resulted in heated discussions and many Republican members storming out of the meeting. Much of the opposition to the legislation amongst senators is due to the lack of border security language.
“This is a unique circumstance where there are things that I support in the package, but I can’t and won’t support that proceeding to that until we get a satisfactory answer to the policy changes that we need at the border,” said Sen. John Cornyn, R-TX in an interview with KXAN.
Sen. Patty Murray, D-WA, unveiled the $110.5 billion national security supplemental funding package on Tuesday, outlining the importance of delivering humanitarian assistance within the Israel-Hamas War, efforts to stop fentanyl from entering the U.S., and more, over border security legislation.
“It’s past time for Senators to stop tying partisan and extreme immigration proposals to a broadly bipartisan supplemental,” said Murray in a statement. “I urge my colleagues to realize that continuing to delay passage of a serious security supplemental—or failing to pass one—would be a massive gift to Putin, the Chinese Communist Party, and our adversaries around the world.”
Contrarily, Cornyn said he sees this as a point of leverage to address “the failure of the Biden administration’s policies.”
“We’re going to insist on policy changes to prevent the asylum system from being abused and to stop this practice of catch and release, which has resulted in so many people being released into the United States,” Cornyn said. “Given the porous nature of the border and the people coming across both known and unknown, I think this is a very dangerous situation.”
The U.S. Senate will hold the key procedural vote to advance the supplemental funding bill Wednesday afternoon. Cornyn predicted the vote would fail.
“I think we’ll demonstrate to the Majority Leader our resolve in dealing with this issue, and he’s got a choice to make. Is he going to get the aid for Israel and Ukraine? And if so, then it’s going to cost him some policy changes on the border that help states like Texas and the entire country deal with this incredible humanitarian and public safety crisis,” Cornyn said.