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HomeGeneralRepublicans Object to Foreign Aid, Sink Border Bill

Republicans Object to Foreign Aid, Sink Border Bill

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Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer
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Many expected the Senate’s vote to advance a bipartisan foreign aid bill with major new border provisions to fail. And it did just that on Wednesday. It’s the first of two votes that Majority Leader Chuck Schumer is forcing on the issue.

The second vote removes the border provisions while maintaining its overseas funding measures. In the initial procedural vote, the Senate split 49-50 on proceeding with the full bill, which includes money for Ukraine, Israel, and Taiwan, as well as the new border policy deal.

It requires 60 votes to advance to legislation. Senate Republicans have been very vocal about where they stand regarding the bill, with some signaling a plan to sink it. Not even the pleas from key negotiators just before the vote could change their minds. 

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The Senate was to vote Wednesday evening on the second option Schumer presented. However, that did not happen. The second option will determine whether to begin a debate on a national security package that includes foreign aid but no border provisions or funds.

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The Senate was to vote Wednesday evening on the second option Schumer presented. However, that did not happen. The second option will determine whether to begin a debate on a national security package that includes foreign aid but no border provisions or funds.

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The Senate spent more than four hours holding the floor in limbo on Wednesday. Afterward, they called it a night. The plan was to return Thursday to see if they could divine a way to move forward.

Senate Republicans prevented progress while they met behind the scenes in a bid to come up with a game plan as to whether they wanted to support the package without the border and immigration changes. 

Some conservatives say they won’t vote to move forward unless Schumer gives them a chance to vote on some amendments to the package. In the first vote, several senators crossed party lines.

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Republican Sens. James Lankford, Lisa Murkowski, Susan Collins, and Mitt Romney agreed to move forward with the bill while the rest of the Republicans voted against it. 

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Democratic Sens. Bob Menendez, Elizabeth Warren, Ed Markey, Alex Padilla, and Bernie Sanders, an independent, also voted against moving forward. Schumer switched his vote to a no at the end. This procedural move will allow him the opportunity to call the bill back up for reconsideration at a later date.

Schumer earlier spoke to reporters about the Republicans going back and forth on the border deal, noting that his GOP colleagues insisted on border provisions as a condition to passing Ukraine aid. Then, they changed their tune and suggested moving forward on a package without border provisions.

“We’re going to give them both options,” Schumer said. “We’ll take either one. We just hope they can come to yes on something.”

This could be another blow to congressional Republicans following their two disappointing losses in the House on Tuesday. They failed to pass the GOP-led impeachment articles against Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas. And there was the defeat of a stand-alone Israeli aid package.

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Schumer started devising a Plan B for the border supplemental when former President Donald Trump began sharing his thoughts. It was a smart move as it quickly became clear Republicans were no longer in support of the package.

It’s unclear whether a national security supplemental without border provisions will get the 60 votes to advance. However, Schumer says he is willing to offer Republicans the opportunity to amend the package in the event of such an outcome. 

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