Latest News 12-12-2023 00:04 8 Views

Senate likely to recess without passing Ukraine and Israel funding, sources say

The Senate is likely to leave town for the holidays without passing the Biden administration's $106 billion national supplemental security package, three sources familiar with the talks told Fox News Digital on Monday. 

The package, which Biden requested from Congress in October, carves out roughly $60 billion for Ukraine, $14 billion for Israel and $14 billion for faster asylum processing at the border and more agents. The administration urged Congress to pass the supplemental by the end of the year. 

However, Senate Republicans have been trying to strike a deal for weeks that would include stricter border security policies — such as higher asylum standards and immediate screenings for migrants — in the package. Democrats disagree and have argued the bill should not include policy changes. 

GOP lawmakers in the upper chamber also want aid for Ukraine and Israel split up, signaling a shift in support for Ukraine's defense against Russia since the Eastern European nation was first invaded in February 2022. Republicans have said Ukraine aid is contingent upon tougher border policies. 

'We are nowhere close to getting that passed,' one Senate aide said of the supplemental. 

Another aide said a deal on border security is unlikely to be reached this week, but if there is one, 'it will be very small.' 

Another source close to the talks said Sen. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell's office said he doesn't think a deal will be reached this week, either. 

'The Republicans are demanding a good border bill, and it doesn't look like they're gonna get it,' the source said. 

Last week, before Republicans blocked the supplemental bill on the floor, Sen. James Lankford, R-Okla., — one of the lead negotiators on the border talks — told Fox News Digital, 'We are not moving on a supplemental until we have a way to be able to actually resolve our border security issues.' 

'We're not having to solve everything on every issue, but we do have to solve the border issues to make sure that we can stop this out of control flow,' he said. 

Votes came 49-51, falling short of the Senate’s 60-vote threshold for passing. The failure to pass came hours after President Biden said it was 'stunning' that Congress has not yet approved tens of billions in military and economic assistance for Ukraine. 

Biden has signaled his willingness to make some compromises at the border, but has not said specifically which policies he would embrace. He has accused Republicans of wanting a political issue more than bipartisan compromise.

'Republicans think they get everything they want without any bipartisan compromise,' Biden said. 'Now they're willing to literally kneecap Ukraine on the battlefield and damage our national security in the process.'

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., and House Speaker Mike Johnson, R-La., have both previously signaled the GOP will pass more Ukraine funding if a deal is struck for tighter immigration laws.  

On Tuesday, Ukraine President Vladomir Zelenskyy will make a final plea in a Senate meeting at 9 a.m. ET to pass additional funding. 

The Senate's last full day is expected to be Thursday, and they will not return until Jan. 9.

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

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