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U.S. Senate reaches bipartisan deal on borders, including aid to Ukraine and Israel: Ambassador announces date of voting

5 February, 2024 Monday
16:57

U.S. President Joe Biden's administration and a bipartisan group of senators have reached a $118.2 billion border deal that includes aid to Ukraine and Israel. According to Ukraine's Ambassador to the U.S. Oksana Markarova, the bill may be voted on February 7

This was reported on the White House website.

"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," US President Joe Biden said in a statement.

He emphasized that members of his administration, together with a bipartisan group of senators, had worked seven days a week for two months to reach an agreement on border security to make the borders more secure and "treat people fairly and humanely while preserving legal immigration, consistent with the values of the United States as a nation."

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

In addition, the bipartisan agreement provides resources to secure the border, including more border patrol agents, immigration judges, asylum officers, and cutting-edge inspection machines to help detect and stop the flow of fentanyl.

According to Biden, the deal will allow the United States to "continue vital work, together with partners all around the world, to stand up for Ukraine’s freedom and support its ability to defend itself against Russia’s aggression." 

"As I have said before, if we don’t stop Putin’s appetite for power and control in Ukraine, he won’t limit himself to just Ukraine and the costs for America will rise. This agreement also provides Israel what they need to protect their people and defend itself against Hamas terrorists. And it will provide life-saving humanitarian assistance for the Palestinian people," the American president said.

The bill allocates $60.1 billion to help Ukraine, $14.1 billion to help Israel, and $20.2 billion to improve security at the US border. It also includes smaller amounts for humanitarian aid in war-torn regions and defense operations in the Red Sea and Taiwan.

Biden emphasized that the next step is for Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives to take action, calling on Congress to unite to pass this bipartisan agreement as soon as possible.

Ukraine's Ambassador to the US Oksana Markarova said that the US Senate may vote on February 7 on a bill for an international aid package, including one for Ukraine.

"The publication of the draft law makes it possible for Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer to vote on February 5 to end debate on the legislative vehicle for the international aid and migration reform package, and on February 7 to vote on the package itself," Markarova wrote.

Speaker of the US House of Representatives Mike Johnson criticized the bill, saying it was worse than expected. He wrote about this on his page on the social network X.

“I’ve seen enough. This bill is even worse than we expected, and won’t come close to ending the border catastrophe the President has created,” he wrote.

He promised to reject the bill as soon as it reaches the US House of Representatives.

  • On January 31, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg met with US House Speaker Mike Johnson and other members of the congressional leadership to discuss support for Ukraine.
  • On February 1, it was reported that Mike Johnson believes that the US national security program, which includes assistance to Ukraine, will be divided over border policy.
  • On February 3, Speaker of the House of Representatives Mike Johnson said that next week there would be a vote on a separate $17.6 billion aid package for Israel without aid to Ukraine.
  • At the third annual Ukraine Week summit held in Washington this week, a delegation of the Baltic states called on the US Congress to provide funding for Ukraine.
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