The approval of President Joe Biden‘s proposed aid package for Ukraine hits a roadblock as disagreement over border regulations continues to escalate.
What Happened: The Republican-led House, represented by Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.), is demanding the implementation of stricter border controls as a precondition for considering the bill, The New York Times reported.
Johnson, after meeting Biden, made it clear on Wednesday that the House will not contemplate the aid package for Ukraine until Democrats consent to a more robust crackdown at the U.S.-Mexico border. This condition further complicates the already shaky prospects of Congress approving the billions of dollars in emergency aid intended to aid Ukraine in its resistance against Russian aggression.
“I told the president what I had been saying for many months, and that is that we must have change at the border, substantive policy change,” Johnson told the media.
“We must insist — must insist — that the border be the top priority.”
The GOP is adamant that the aid package must be attached to measures designed to control migration at the southwestern border. A bipartisan group of senators has made headway on a compromise, but its prospects of becoming law are slim if the House, under pressure from a far-right faction demanding tougher immigration policies, rejects it.
Despite Johnson’s stance, Democrats are hopeful about finalizing a border deal, which could potentially lead to a breakthrough in Ukraine. Senate Republicans also expressed optimism for a deal, with a potential vote on a national security spending bill that combines border measures with military assistance for Ukraine and Israel possibly happening as early as next week.
However, Johnson’s continued warnings suggest that any such plan may face significant opposition in the House. House Republicans have already passed a bill that includes several border changes they deem critical to any deal.
President Biden convened the meeting to discuss the global implications of the U.S. failing to assist Ukraine in its fight against a Russian invasion. In the meeting, Biden underscored the global implications if the U.S. failed to uphold its commitment to assist Ukraine in resisting a Russian invasion.
“The president discussed the strategic consequences of inaction for Ukraine, the United States and the world,” the statement said. “He was clear: Congress’s continued failure to act endangers the United States’ national security, the NATO Alliance and the rest of the free world.”
Why It Matters: Ukraine’s ongoing war with Russia has left the country in dire need of financial support from other nations. Struggling to defend itself, the country has been exploring potential financial avenues. The stalemate over the Ukraine aid legislation underscores the deep political divisions on Capitol Hill. The third U.S. visit by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy last week ended without any clear commitments on military aid. This visit was marked by Zelensky’s desperation for support as Ukraine continues its fight against Russian invasion.
Zelenskyy also met JPMorgan Chase & Co‘s CEO, Jamie Dimon, at the World Economic Forum in Davos earlier this week to push for support to bolster Ukraine’s financial resources. In September, ahead of a planned meeting with the U.S. President, Zelenskyy met with several billionaires, possibly in an attempt to secure funding.
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This content was partially produced with the help of Benzinga Neuro and was reviewed and published by Benzinga editors.