The Latest: Foreign Aid and Immigration Reforms

February 7, 2024

Aid for Ukraine and Israel is still uncertain after a flurry of activity this week on Capitol Hill. Let’s catch you up.

Senate Deal on Death Bed

Negotiators worked for months on a bipartisan bill to make immigration reforms and provide funding to Ukraine, Israel and Taiwan. The goal was to woo Republicans sour on sending more aid to Ukraine.

House Republicans were against it before they saw the bill text Sunday.

Now Senate GOP leaders who were behind it for months are abandoning it, too, and they plan to block it when Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) brings it to the floor today for a procedural vote.

“We had a very robust discussion about whether or not this product could ever become law,” McConnell told reporters Tuesday after a Senate GOP meeting, according to Politico. “And it’s been made pretty clear to us by the speaker that it will not become law.”

Schumer’s New Plan

“Schumer is planning to force a vote on a clean foreign aid package for Ukraine, Israel and the Indo-Pacific after Republicans block floor debate on the bipartisan border supplemental package this afternoon,” Punchbowl News reported this morning.

Israel Aid Vote

House Republicans brought a resolution Tuesday that would provide funding to only Israel, without addressing the other parts of the administration’s supplemental spending request.

That failed, as CBS News reported.

Democrats generally voted against it because they said it undermined the Senate’s comprehensive aid and immigration package, and a handful of Republicans voted against it because it wasn’t paid for with spending cuts elsewhere.

President Biden had threatened to veto the Israel aid-only bill.

Ukraine Aid

Some in the GOP still oppose additional funding for Ukraine.

DOD and the White House have noted that the majority of the money actually goes to defense manufacturing companies in U.S. communities and states to build weapons systems to send to Ukraine and replenish the U.S. supply, as On Base has reported.

Mayorkas Impeachment Vote

House Republicans, wanting to show action on border security even as they shun a bipartisan agreement, voted on a resolution Tuesday to impeach Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas.

The resolution was voted down 214-216 with a few Republicans bucking their party leaders, as CNN reported.

Appropriations on the Sidelines

With these issues taking up so much energy on Capitol Hill, lawmakers are running out of time to pass the 12 spending bills for the fiscal year that started Oct. 1.

Four of those bills are supposed to be complete by March 1, while the others have a March 8 deadline. None of them has been completed and signed into law.

DOD photo by Chad J. McNeeley, Nov. 20, 2023

February 7, 2024

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