Senate Prioritizes Foreign Aid Over Border Security, Faces Backlash from Republicans

In the early hours of Tuesday, the U.S. Senate approved a foreign aid bill worth $95 billion, despite significant opposition from a majority of Republican senators. The legislation, which will provide financial assistance to Ukraine, Israel, and Taiwan, was agreed upon by 70 votes to 29.

The bill will allocate $61 billion to Ukraine, $14 billion to Israel, $4.83 billion to U.S. allies in the Indo-Pacific, and more than $9 billion in worldwide humanitarian aid. The bill’s endorsement came primarily from Democrats, along with 22 Republicans.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) stated, “It’s certainly been years, perhaps decades, since the Senate has passed a bill that so greatly impacts not just our national security, not just the security of our allies, but the security of western democracy.” Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), who also supported the bill, remarked, “The Senate understands the responsibilities of America’s national security and will not neglect them. History settles every account. And today, on the value of American leadership and strength, history will record that the Senate did not blink.”

However, the bill faced strong opposition from conservative senators, who argued that domestic issues, particularly the border crisis and illegal immigration, should be prioritized. Senator Roger Marshall (R-KS) expressed during the debate, “Americans are going to hold people accountable that chose to move on from border security and fund foreign nations before we took care of our own homes.”

Senator J.D. Vance criticized the bill, stating, “This morning the America last caucus got a $61 billion aid package out of the Senate. But they paid dearly for this small win. The House won’t pass the current bill. We must fix our country before devoting more resources to Ukraine. That’s our message, and the fight goes on.”

Senator Josh Hawley (R-MO) criticized McConnell for supporting the aid package, stating, “Most Senate Republicans vote no. McConnell of course votes with the Democrats. He is Biden’s chief foreign policy supporter these days. That position is an island — and the gulf between it & the rest of America is only getting wider.”

This foreign aid package was preceded by an attempt to couple it with border security measures earlier in the month. However, the proposal was rejected by conservative senators who argued that it would not effectively address the issue of illegal border crossings.

House Speaker Mike Johnson criticized the Senate’s foreign aid bill, stating it was “silent on the most pressing issues facing our country.” He added, “The mandate of national security supplemental legislation was to secure America’s own border before sending additional foreign aid around the world.”