U.S. Senate’s $118bn Bipartisan Border Bill Faces House Opposition

In a move, the U.S. Senate unveiled a $118 billion bipartisan border security bill on Sunday, encompassing aid for Ukraine and Israel.

President Biden urged swift approval, praising the migration measures. However, House Speaker Mike Johnson staunchly opposed it, declaring the bill “dead on arrival.”

Despite bipartisan support in the Senate, including from both Democratic and Republican backers, Speaker Johnson’s strong disapproval sets the stage for a contentious legislative battle.

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The proposed bill, if enacted, would bring the most significant changes to U.S. immigration and border security in decades. Some progressive Democrats criticize its failure to address a pathway to citizenship for 11 million undocumented individuals, including Dreamer immigrants. Independent Senator Kyrsten Sinema highlighted provisions to secure the southern border, potentially leading to temporary shutdowns in response to high migrant crossing attempts.

With an allocation of funds, the bill earmarks $20.23 billion for border security, $60.06 billion for Ukraine, $14.1 billion for Israel, and substantial amounts for Central Command, the Red Sea conflict, and Indo-Pacific partners facing Chinese aggression.

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Despite these allocations, the bill faces scrutiny for excluding funding for the U.N. agency for Palestinians.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer emphasized the bill’s importance in addressing global challenges, while Senate negotiators aim to advance the bill despite opposition from former President Donald Trump.

The House Republicans’ divided stance on immigration and aid to Ukraine adds complexity, with Speaker Johnson planning a separate vote for military assistance to Israel.

The bill’s proponents argue that it would end the controversial “catch-and-release” practice, accelerating asylum case adjudications to prevent migrants from staying in the U.S. for extended periods. Despite opposition from right-wing Republicans, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell supports the negotiations, urging careful consideration.

Amidst the political intricacies, the bill’s fate remains uncertain, reflecting the challenges of navigating bipartisan support and addressing diverse concerns on immigration, border security, and international aid.

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