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Ray Bogan

Political Correspondent

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Politics

Senate could leave Washington without deal for Ukraine, Israel, border

Dec 18, 2023

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Ray Bogan

Political Correspondent

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The Senate and White House are still negotiating the details of a deal to provide $110 billion in funding for Ukraine, Israel and the Indo-Pacific region, in addition to beefing up security at the U.S. southern border. However, it doesn’t look like a deal is near.

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After a long weekend of negotiations, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., and top negotiator Sen. James Lankford, R-Okla., issued a note to their colleagues.

“While there is progress being made in the border discussions there are significant issues still under discussion and a lot of very technical work on drafting which takes time to get right,” the lawmakers wrote.

McConnell and Lankford added that there’s no vote planned for the week of Dec. 17, and if Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., tries to hold even an initial vote without giving lawmakers enough time to review the deal, it will fail. 

Republicans are not backing down from their border security demands, and recent updates from Customs and Border Protection (CBP) are giving them even more reason to dig in. 

Immigrants are arriving faster than the CBP can handle. As a result, customs has suspended operations at two international rail crossings in Texas. The move comes in addition to the temporary closures of an international bridge, pedestrian crossing and vehicle crossing in Arizona, California and Texas. The closures enable agents from these locations to relocate to areas experiencing higher numbers of illegal entries, allowing them to assist with processing.

“Disruption of legitimate trade and travel, costing jobs and revenue, is another casualty of the #BidenBorderCrisis,” Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, posted on X.

Even if Republican negotiators get the asylum and parole reforms they’re looking for, it’s not clear the rest of the Senate Republican conference will back it. Fifteen Senate Republicans, led by Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wis., are asking for an update on the negotiations. 

“Rushed and secret negotiations with Democrats who want an open border and who caused the current crisis will not secure the border,” the senators wrote in a letter.

But gaining the support of Senate Republicans may mean losing the support of House Democrats. The Congressional Hispanic Caucus called the proposals “extreme.” 

“The most recent reports that we’re hearing now of these Trump-era immigration policies possibly becoming permanent laws in exchange for one-time funding,” Rep. Nanette Barragan, D-Calif., said at a press conference. “And worse these negotiations are taking place without a single Latino senator at the table.”

Realistically, if nothing gets done in the next day or two, the Senate will be sent home for Christmas and New Years and a deal won’t be done until the first or second week of January at the earliest. 

The Biden administration is sending one more aid package to Ukraine that is worth $200 million. The aid will include ammunition, anti-armor munitions, HIMARS and more. The White House warned that it is running out of funding at the end of the year if Congress doesn’t provide more.

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The Senate and White House are still negotiating the details of a deal to provide funding for Ukraine, Israel and the Indo-Pacific region, in addition to beefing up security at the US southern border. But it doesn’t look like a deal is near. 

 

After a long weekend of negotiations, Sen. Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., and the Republican’s top negotiator Sen. James Lankford, R-Okla., told their colleagues in a note, “While there is progress being made in the border discussions there are significant issues still under discussion and a lot of very technical work on drafting which takes time to get right.” 

 

They added that there’s no vote planned for this week and if Sen. Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., tries to hold even an initial vote without giving lawmakers enough time to review the deal, it will fail. 

 

Republicans are not backing down from their border security demands and recent updates from Customs and Border Protection are giving them even more reason to dig in. 

 

Immigrants are arriving faster than CBP can handle and as a result customs just suspended operations at two international rail crossings in Texas. That’s in addition to the temporary closure of an international bridge, pedestrian crossing and vehicle crossing in Arizona, California and Texas. 

[Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas]

Disruption of legitimate trade and travel, costing jobs and revenue, is another casualty of the #BidenBorderCrisis,” Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, posted on X. 

[Ray Bogan]

And even if Republican negotiators get the asylum and parole reforms they’re looking for, it’s not clear the rest of the Senate Republican conference will back it. Fifteen Senate Republicans, led by Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wisc., are asking for an update on the negotiations. 

 

“Rushed and secret negotiations with Democrats who want an open border and who caused the current crisis will not secure the border,” the senators wrote.

[Ray Bogan]

But gaining the support of Senate Republicans may mean losing the support of House Democrats. The Congressional Hispanic Caucus called what’s being proposed “extreme”. 

[Rep. Nanette Barragan]

“The most recent reports that we’re hearing now of these Trump-era immigration policies possibly becoming permanent laws in exchange for one time funding. And worse these negotiations are taking place without a single latino senator at the table,” Rep. Nanette Barragan, D-Calif., said at a press conference. 

[Ray Bogan]

Realistically, if nothing gets done in the next day or two, the Senate will get sent home for Christmas and New Years and a deal won’t get done until the first or second week of January at the earliest. 

The Biden administration is sending one more aid package to Ukraine worth $200 million. It will include ammunition, anti-armor munitions, HIMARS and more. But the White House said they’re running out of funding at the end of the year if Congress doesn’t provide more.