Many Republicans blasted the bill, which has money for Ukraine, Israel and the US border, while Democrats largely voiced support for it.
Republicans and Democrats in Congress are expressing mixed reactions to the bipartisan Senate border/foreign aid deal announced on Feb. 4.
On the whole, Republicans blasted the bill while Democrats supported it.
In addition to funding for border-related activities and new border policies, the $118 billion supplemental bill includes more than $60 billion for Ukraine amid its war with Russia, whose second anniversary will be on Feb. 24, and more than $14 billion in assistance to Israel amid its war in Gaza with the terrorist group Hamas.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) called for passage of the deal, which was negotiated for months between Sens. James Lankford (R-Okla.), Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), and Kyrsten Sinema (I-Ariz.).
Mr. Schumer is set to file cloture on Feb. 5, a procedural move that sets up a vote on the bill by the middle of the week.
“I have said over and over that the only way we will rise to the occasion is if both sides are serious about finding bipartisan policy solutions,” he said.
“Senators must shut out the noise from those who want this agreement to fail for their own political agendas,” he added.
Mr. McConnell called on senators to address the issues and approve the legislation.
“The challenges we face will not resolve themselves, nor will our adversaries wait for America to muster the resolve to meet them. The Senate must carefully consider the opportunity in front of us and prepare to act.”
In his statement, Mr. McConnell blasted the Biden administration’s border policies including revoking the Trump administration’s requiring asylum seekers to remain in Mexico while their cases are under review.
“The Biden administration’s refusal to secure the border created an unprecedented crisis, and the urgent humanitarian and security consequences affect every state,” he said.
“It is time to force the president to start cleaning up his mess and equip future leaders with a system that works and new emergency tools to restore order.”
‘Incentivizes Illegal Entry’
“I can’t support a bill that doesn’t secure the border, provides taxpayer funded lawyers to illegal immigrants and gives billions to radical open borders groups. I’m a no,” posted Sen. Steve Daines (R-Mont.) on X, formerly Twitter.
Mr. Daines called on President Joe Biden, who supports the agreement, to use his existing executive authority to secure the border.
“The terrible $118 billion supplemental worsens the border invasion, incentivizes illegal entry, sends more taxpayer $ to Ukraine, and exacerbates our fiscal crisis.
Sen. Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii) defended the legislation.
Rep. Bill Pascrell Jr. (D-N.J.) echoed Mr. Schatz and said Republicans are opposing the bill because former President Donald Trump, the frontrunner in the GOP presidential primary, is against the bill and therefore the GOP wants to play politics ahead of the November election.
Indeed, House Speaker Mike Johnson said that the bill is dead on arrival in the House were it to pass the Senate—an outcome far from guaranteed.
The House GOP leadership—Mr. Johnson, House Majority Leader Steve Scalise (R-La.), House Majority Whip Tom Emmer (R-Minn.), and House GOP Conference Chairwoman Elise Stefanik (R-N.Y.)—released a joint statement on Feb. 5 slamming the bill.
“House Republicans oppose the Senate immigration bill because it fails in every policy area needed to secure our border and would actually incentivize more illegal immigration,” they said.
“Any consideration of this Senate bill in its current form is a waste of time. It is DEAD on arrival in the House,” they added. “We encourage the U.S. Senate to reject it.”