Senators Roll Out $118.28 Billion Bill for Immigration and International Support
A groundbreaking bipartisan effort led by Senators James Lankford, Chris Murphy, and Kyrsten Sinema has resulted in the unveiling of a proposal that intertwines a major immigration system overhaul with significant foreign aid allocations.
The proposed bill, part of a $118.28 billion national security supplemental package released by Chair of the Senate Appropriations Committee, Sen. Patty Murray, aims to enhance border security, and immigration enforcement and allocate substantial aid to key allies.
Examining the $60 B Aid to Ukraine, $14.1B for Israel, and Global Security Measures
The proposed legislation includes a staggering $60.06 billion to support Ukraine in its ongoing struggle against Russia, along with $14.1 billion in security assistance earmarked for Israel.
Additionally, $10 billion is allocated for humanitarian aid to civilians in conflict zones such as Gaza, the West Bank, and Ukraine.
The bill also encompasses $4.83 billion to support Indo-Pacific regional partners and counter potential aggression from the Chinese government.
However, this landmark deal, reached after four months of negotiations, faces skepticism from hard-liners in Congress advocating for stricter regulations at the southern border.
House Speaker Mike Johnson expressed reservations, stating, “The devil is in the details.” He previously deemed the deal “dead on arrival” if it matched early descriptions.
The bill includes border policy changes, providing $20.3 billion for existing operational border needs.
One notable addition is the Fentanyl Eradication and Narcotics Deterrence Off Fentanyl Act. While the proposal may not fully satisfy hard-liners, it represents a significant compromise, addressing concerns raised during tense negotiations.
Immigration Bill Faces Republican Skepticism
Republican skepticism, particularly regarding potential border shutdowns, poses a substantial hurdle for the bill in both chambers of Congress.
Some Republicans argue that the bill would require the Department of Homeland Security to nearly shut down the border if migrant crossings surpass specified thresholds.
Sen. Lankford, a key negotiator for the Republicans, has countered these claims, emphasizing the bill’s focus on achieving zero illegal crossings per day and dismissing rumors of a 5,000-person daily threshold.
The Senate is expected to start advancing the legislation later in the week, with a procedural vote requiring 60 senators’ support. President Joe Biden has welcomed the bipartisan effort, recognizing the urgency to address the broken immigration system.
Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas has also expressed support, describing the agreement as tough, fair, and a meaningful step towards addressing long-standing challenges. The proposed legislation aims to expedite legal processes, respond to dynamic border situations, and allocate resources to enhance national security measures.