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US Senate blocks border bill and foreign aid package amid Republican objection

Xinhua | Updated: 2024-02-08 04:59

WASHINGTON -- US Senate on Wednesday failed to advance a border security and foreign aid package negotiated by Democratic and Republican leaders, amid objection by many Republicans.

The procedural vote came just a few days after senators from the Republican and Democratic parties on Sunday unveiled a bipartisan border security and foreign aid agreement after prolonged discussions.

The Senate's proposal for a border deal and foreign aid package sought to introduce stringent limits along the US southern border, effectively restricting asylum-seeking at that border - a departure from longstanding practices. Additionally, the package included provisions for aiding Israel and Ukraine.

Senate Republicans prevented the bill from advancing as they face opposition from House Republicans and former President Donald Trump, the likely 2024 presidential nominee, who publicly urged lawmakers to oppose any border deal.

President Joe Biden didn't mince words during a fundraiser in New York on Wednesday, where he criticized congressional Republicans for their role in blocking the package in the Senate.

Biden accused Trump of exerting pressure on lawmakers by making "threatening" calls, warning of "retribution" if they supported the package. According to Biden, Republicans are "walking away" due to the influence of Trump's calls and threats.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, meanwhile, criticized Republicans who insisted on tying Ukraine aid to alterations in the Biden administration's border policies, only to later withdraw from a bipartisan proposal that had input from Republican leadership.

Schumer also announced his intention to pursue an alternative plan to provide aid to Ukraine and Israel after the initial vote to begin discussion on a bipartisan border security package was unsuccessful.

Both Democrats and Republicans agree on providing more funding for Ukraine and Israel, but a substantial group of House Republicans are against increasing US aid to Ukraine.

The Biden administration faces increasing pressure to address the surge in migrants at the nation's southern border, with demands coming not only from the typical Republican critics but also from Democratic mayors and governors across the country.

As yet another illustration of the ongoing conflict between the two parties regarding the border issue, US Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas on Tuesday narrowly survived an impeachment vote in the House of Representatives, with four Republicans voting with all Democrats to oppose the resolution.

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