Feb 8, 2024 - Politics & Policy

Foreign aid package finally breaks through Senate logjam

Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-NY) talks to reporters as he walks to his office

Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-NY) Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

After a four-month detour for a border deal that died in three days, the Senate is moving forward on a $95 billion aid package for Ukraine, Israel and the Indo-Pacific.

Why it matters: This step forward is way past its deadline. The Pentagon is already out of funds for Ukraine, and a path through the House remains murky even if the Senate reaches a final deal.

  • The vote to advance to debate was 67 to 32, with 16 Republicans joining Democrats to move forward.
  • Some Senate Republicans want to try to tack on their own border priorities and other changes through an amendment process.
  • How amendments will work — and how long it could take — is still unclear.

Between the lines: The Senate vote also marks the final failure of what has been four months of intense bipartisan negotiations to attach changes to border policy to the emergency spending bill.

The bottom line: The version of the bill moving forward currently includes no money for the Department of Homeland Security's border security efforts, despite the White House's initially asking for billions in emergency money before the policy debate started.

  • Without additional cashflow soon, agencies like Immigration and Customs Enforcement will likely be forced to slow down their border operations — potentially making the logistical and humanitarian crisis even worse.
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