Senate GOP leans toward advancing foreign aid bill without border policies

Senate GOP leans toward advancing foreign aid bill without border policies

With months of negotiations on the toxic border issue certain to end in failure Wednesday, Senate Republicans are indicating they might be willing to advance a more straightforward aid package for Ukraine, Israel and Taiwan.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer is expected to force votes on a foreign assistance package with border security policies Wednesday afternoon, which Republicans say they will reject. Then Schumer will move to a package without the border component — which will also include the Fend Off Fentanyl Act.

“First Republicans said they would only do Ukraine and Israel and humanitarian aid with border, then they said they would not do it with border. Well we’re gonna give them both options,” Schumer told reporters on Wednesday morning.

Ahead of those votes, the GOP is meeting to debate the path forward. Mississippi Sen. Roger Wicker, the top Republican on the Armed Services Committee, said he will vote to advance the borderless supplemental and predicts there will be 60 votes to move it.

“The whip is doing a check right now. I’m optimistic,” Wicker said.

Senate Minority Whip John Thune (R-S.D.) said in an interview that they’re “trying to determine whether or not Schumer will allow amendment votes.” He added that “process is going to matter.”

Illustrating that point, Sen. Mike Rounds (R-S.D.) said he would vote to advance the border-free bill provided there was an agreement to vote on amendments. Schumer said he was committed to a “fair and open-ended process.”

Senate Appropriations Chair Patty Murray (D-Wash.) released text of the latest attempt at a supplemental spending bill on Wednesday. The language includes aid to Ukraine, Israel and Taiwan and humanitarian assistance and excludes any border funding or policy changes.

“After demanding border policy changes in exchange for passing aid to Ukraine, Republicans are poised to reject the very thing they insisted upon for months,” Murray wrote in a statement. “But far too much hangs in the balance to give up now.”

A two-week recess is scheduled to start this weekend, and any one senator can drag out the foreign assistance package; several conservative senators are likely to do so over opposition to Ukraine funding. But there’s also a possibility Republicans are ready to move on after the disastrous border negotiations, a failed House vote on Israel aid and looming government funding deadlines.

“If we have a full amendment and a debate process, then I’m okay with that. But if (Schumer) is gonna try to just deny any opportunity to offer amendments and jam it through them, I’m not gonna support it,” said Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas).

Over in the House, Speaker Mike Johnson said he’s waiting to “see what the Senate does.”

“We spend a lot of time on the House side of waiting, awaiting the Senate’s action,” Johnson told reporters. “And it’s frustrating sometimes but that’s the way the process works.”

Ursula Perano and Katherine Tully-McManus contributed to this report.

Go to Source