Wednesday February 21, 2024

White House to intensify push for Ukraine aid and border security deal

December 11, 2023

WASHINGTON: The White House will step up its engagement with US lawmakers trying to strike a bipartisan deal that would provide military aid for Ukraine and Israel while tightening US border security, a Democratic senator said on Sunday.

Republicans have insisted that additional funding for Ukraine must be paired with major US border security changes but a bipartisan group of senators trying to broker a compromise have made little progress with less than a week before the US Congress leaves for a Christmas break.

Capitol Hill building can be seen in this picture. — AFP/File
Capitol Hill building can be seen in this picture. — AFP/File

“The White House is going to get more engaged this week,” Senator Chris Murphy, the lead Democratic negotiator, said on NBC News’ “Meet the Press.”

Murphy said it was important to know if Democratic President Joe Biden would sign any prospective deal. The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Biden, who is seeking reelection in 2024, has struggled with record numbers of migrants attempting to cross the US-Mexico border illegally. Republicans have criticized Biden for rolling back some restrictive policies of former President Donald Trump, currently the leading candidate for his party’s nomination. Media reported last week that the Biden administration was open to new limits on US asylum as part of a deal to secure funding for allies Ukraine and Israel.

Murphy said the current border security demands by Republicans were “unreasonable” and that they were “playing games with the security of the world” by linking the military aid to US border security measures.

Some Republicans have pushed for border provisions that would allow migrants crossing the border illegally to be quickly deported without the chance to seek US asylum. They have also called for greatly scaling back Biden programs that have allowed hundreds of thousands of migrants to enter lawfully.