"Bomb" from Washington: Blockade for Ukraine and Israel
A package of new security aid to Ukraine and Israel worth billions of dollars was blocked by Republicans in the US Senate on Wednesday.Source: Jutarnji list
They are pushing for stricter immigration control measures at the US-Mexico border.
The aid package was voted 49 to 51 by senators, meaning the $110.5 billion aid package fell short of the 60 votes needed in the 100-member Senate to open the way for debate.
The vote was along party lines, with all Senate Republicans voting against it, along with Sen. Bernie Sanders, an independent who normally votes with Democrats but has expressed concern about funding Israel's current "inhumane military strategy" against the Palestinians.
Senate Democratic Majority Leader Chuck Schumer also voted against, so he could file for reconsideration. After the vote, Schumer, a Democrat, said it was a "serious moment that will have lasting consequences for the 21st century," risking the downfall of Western democracy.
Republicans said the vote was essential to underscore their demand for tougher immigration policies and controls on the southern border.
"Today's vote is what it takes for the Democratic leader to recognize that Senate Republicans mean what we say. Then let's vote. And then let's finally start delivering on America's national security priorities, including here at home," the leader said. Senate Republican Mitch McConnell spoke earlier Wednesday.
Republicans and Democrats in Congress have been debating for months how to respond to Democratic President Joe Biden's request for billions of dollars in funding for Ukraine to fight Russian invaders, Israel after the October 7 attack by Islamist militants Hamas, American interests in the Indo-Pacific and international humanitarian aid.
Two White House demands for Congress to pass spending bills, however, have failed to pass, and nervousness is spreading in the U.S. Congress as the gridlock threatens to extend into 2024. Democrats argue that helping allies is essential to supporting global democracy and fending off autocracies.
"Make no mistake, today's vote will be remembered for a long time. History will be judged harshly ... we cannot allow (Russian President Vladimir) Putin to win," Biden said earlier in a speech at the White House.
A group of Senate Democrats called a news conference to argue that blocking the bill would send a message to both U.S. adversaries and allies that the United States is not standing by its international partners.
"Time is running out. We have just a few days to make clear, positive progress toward working out the final details needed to demonstrate that the United States is a reliable ally," said Sen. Chris Coons.
Republicans argue that excessive illegal immigration across the southern border with Mexico is an extremely important security problem and say they want more accountability than they are getting from the Biden administration for US tax-payer funds going abroad.
Schumer said Tuesday he would try to break the impasse by offering Republicans a chance to add a border policy amendment to the bill.
By Wednesday evening, such an amendment had not been announced. star_border