‘I think we should stay here as long as it takes,’ the Kentucky senator told CNN.
Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) said this week he will drag out the process in the Senate seeking to pass a supplemental bill that would give assistance to Ukraine and Israel.
“I think we should stay here as long as it takes,” the senator told CNN.
“If it takes a week or a month, I’ll force them to stay here to discuss why they think the border of Ukraine is more important than the U.S. border,” he continued.
Mr. Paul’s comments come as the Senate, mainly due to Republicans, failed on Oct. 7 to proceed to debate on a $118.3 billion bill that would give $60 billion in assistance to Ukraine amid its war with Russia, and $14.1 billion for Israel amid its latest conflict with the terrorist group Hamas. It would also give $20 billion to implement border security measures.
The bill provides a new emergency authority for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to restrict border crossings if an average of 4,000 daily encounters are made during one week.
If this threshold is reached, the DHS secretary could shut down the border by denying illegal immigrants the ability to apply for asylum.
But if average encounters reach 5,000 a day over a given week, the DHS secretary is required to shut down the border. The deal also limits the president’s parole authority, a power that gives the president the ability to allow more illegal immigrants into the country.
The deal raises the legal bar for the initial screening of asylum claims by illegal immigrants. It would also reduce the asylum processing time from many years to six months.
The package also doesn’t include a restoration of former President Donald Trump’s “Remain in Mexico” policy, which many Republicans have told The Epoch Times is a must-have.
The bill failed to garner the 60 votes needed to begin debate, with 50 senators voting against its advancement and 49 voting in the affirmative.
The bill’s defeat was expected after mounting opposition from Senate Republicans who took issue with the border policies, forcing Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) to acknowledge that the bill had no chance of becoming law.
Later in the day, the Senate cleared an initial procedural step in a 58-41 vote, advancing the chamber’s plan B: a national security package that contains funding for Ukraine, Israel, and Taiwan, without any border provisions.
The new $95 billion package includes $60 billion in assistance for Ukraine and $14.1 billion for Israel. While it does not include any border or immigration provisions, the aforementioned funding amounts were the same in the initial supplemental.
A procedural vote to proceed to the new package succeeded, 67–32, meeting the required 60-vote threshold for a successful vote.
Mr. Paul’s comments indicate that a mechanism to expedite the bill toward its final passage will not be implemented. For the expedited process, known as a time agreement—which includes a set of amendments—to be initiated, all senators must consent to it. As a result, there will likely be multiple votes on amendments and procedural votes before advancing to the final passage, which is expected by the middle of next week.
The new supplemental also includes funding to combat the fentanyl crisis in the United States.
Joseph Lord contributed to this report.