Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) announced plans to bring the immigration and Ukraine funding bill to the floor of the Senate next week, setting up a crucial showdown with Republicans.
Schumer said the text of the bill could be released as soon as Friday with a vote scheduled for Tuesday or Wednesday. “That will give members plenty of time to read the bill before voting on it,” Schumer said on the floor Thursday afternoon.
The package includes aid for Israel and Ukraine, as well as military assistance for Taiwan and funding for border security. The legislative package is worth about $105 billion, with $61 billion for Ukraine, $14 billion for Israel, $15 billion for Taiwan and other Near East nations, and $15 billion for the border.
“I would just ask that folks consider reading the text before deciding what the text does or doesn’t do,” said Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (I-Ariz.).
That would be a first.
There are enough votes to pass Ukraine, Israel, and Taiwan aid in the Senate. But Republicans looking to scuttle the entire deal because border policy changes don’t go far enough might deep-six the entire thing when it gets to the House floor.
Schumer made an impassioned plea to Republican colleagues to vote for the bill, declaring it “so important to enabling us to address multiple crises around the globe.”
He cited Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Israel’s military campaign to defeat Hamas in Gaza, the threat posed by China in the Indo-Pacific and the huge influx of migrants across the southern border.
“Addressing these challenges is not easy, but we cannot simply shirk from our responsibilities just because a task is difficult,” he argued.
Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), the lead Democratic negotiator, said it’s time for the legislation to come to the floor.
“We have a bipartisan deal to address the crisis at the border. It should be no surprise that Donald Trump opposes the agreement — he wants chaos at the border because it helps him politically. It’s time to bring this deal to the floor,” Murphy wrote on X.
Playing politics with national security is a Democratic Party specialty, so spare us the crocodile tears, Senator.
But Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) made a good point about how long the House should have before they should vote for it.
“They’ve had months to write it — in complete secrecy, no less,” he wrote on X. “A few days won’t be nearly enough to read, debate, and amend this thing.”
Lee has proposed giving senators at least three weeks to study the legislation, arguing that immigration law is extremely complex and that it took the Judiciary Committee a month to mark up comprehensive immigration legislation in 2013.
House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.) has hinted he may look to separate Ukraine aid from the immigration changes. It will largely depend on how much hard opposition there is to funding for Ukraine.
Amendments will no doubt be limited, as is the case with all controversial legislation. No doubt Democrats want to add an amendment tying aid for Israel to Gaza aid and humanitarian concerns. Republicans want to make sure that Ukraine aid is going to the right people. That is going to slow down the voting schedule, meaning that it may be closer to the end of the month before the national security package comes up for a vote.