US Senate released a highly anticipated $118 billion package on Sunday that pairs border enforcement policy with wartime aid for Ukraine, Israel and other US allies, setting off a long-shot effort to push the bill through heavy skepticism from Republicans, including House Speaker Mike Johnson.
The proposal could be the best chance for President Joe Biden to resupply Ukraine with wartime aid — a major foreign policy goal that is shared with both the Senate’s top Democrat, Sen. Chuck Schumer, and top Republican, Sen. Mitch McConnell. The Senate was expected this week to hold a key test vote on the legislation, but it faces a wall of opposition from conservatives.
With Congress stalled on approving $60 billion in Ukraine aid, the US has halted shipments of ammunition and missiles to Kyiv.
Biden said in a statement that the Senate proposal “allows the United States to continue our 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.”
And on the border, Biden said that the immigration system has been broken for too long, and it’s time to fix it.
“It will make our country safer, make our border more secure, treat people fairly and humanely while preserving legal immigration, consistent with our values as a nation,” Biden said.
The new bill would also invest in US defense manufacturing, send $14 billion in military aid to Israel, steer nearly $5 billion to allies in the Asia-Pacific, and provide humanitarian assistance to civilians caught in conflicts in Ukraine and Gaza.
In a call with reporters after releasing the legislation, Schumer said he has never worked so closely with McConnell. He called the bill a “monumental step” toward strengthening national security at home and abroad.