A major US national security bill is in danger of stunning collapse. what happened after that?
The far-reaching legislative effort threatens to explode in stunning fashion in a vote Wednesday afternoon in the U.S. Senate.
Bits of unfinished business will remain scattered across the political landscape: immigration reform, weapons for an increasingly desperate Ukraine, and security aid for Taiwan and Israel.
It’s all part of a sweeping national security bill that Republicans have spent months negotiating, one that includes many Republican priorities, with support from the Republican-supporting Border Patrol union and Republican editorial editors at the Wall Street Journal, and that may soon be repealed by Republicans.
US President Joe Biden said on Tuesday, “Why? A simple reason: Donald Trump.” “Because Donald Trump thinks this is bad for him politically.”
Trump and his allies are pressuring elected Republicans to block the legislation, arguing that it helps Biden in an election year. US lawmakers are already looking beyond the bill’s almost certain failure for ways to salvage its broken pieces.
Here’s how we got here.
Anatomy of a 4-month odyssey
Last fall, Ukraine began to run out of US-supplied weapons. The Biden administration urged Congress to renew funding for a program that has two goals: sending old American weapons to Ukraine, and purchasing new weapons for the United States.
Republicans are becoming increasingly skeptical. Many of them asked: Why are we spending billions more to protect Ukraine’s borders, and not America’s borders?
So, Biden proposed a compromise — putting everything in one bill.
in Prime time address After the October 7 attacks on Israel, the president proposed a wide-ranging national security law that would tighten US borders while providing military aid to Ukraine, Israel and Taiwan.
Negotiators spent four months working on it. Sen. Chris Murphy, the lead Democratic negotiator, said they met on nights, weekends and during the Christmas holidays.
Even in Washington, where it’s easy to lose the ability to get angry, he said angrily on Tuesday, “what has happened here over the past four months is disgraceful.”
Murphy quoted one of his colleagues who described this week as his most frustrating as a legislator.
Republican chief negotiator James Lankford admitted he felt like his colleagues had thrown him under the bus: “And they backed off.”
What the bill actually does is ramp up border enforcement in many ways, though not to the extent Republicans wanted.
He. She restricts That could release immigrants to the United States: makes it more difficult to seek asylum, speeds up the asylum process so applicants no longer remain in the country, adds resources to detention and deportation, and speeds up expulsions.
There is a provision for closing the border: If the United States receives more than 5,000 migrants per day, the president will have to stop processing migrants entirely.
For US allies, there is $60 billion in arms funding for Ukraine and billions more for Israel for missile defence.
What did the progressive Democrats get? Not much, in terms of their immigration priorities. There is no reference to the legal status of undocumented persons already in the United States. The closest the bill comes to including a traditional Liberal demand is to provide 50,000 new legal immigration points annually over five years.
Trump pushes against bill: “Don’t be stupid!!!”
But that did not stop Trump from lobbying against the bill.
Trump wrote on social media: “This bill is a great gift to the Democrats, and a death wish to the Republican Party.”
“do not be stupid!!!”
On Fox News, morning anchor Steve Doocy said some Republicans would oppose the bill simply because Trump opposes it; Because they want the chaos at the border to be an election issue.
“Republicans want it until November so they can say Joe Biden broke it,” Ducey said.
But the loudest and most powerful voices on Fox News, prime-time hosts like Sean Hannity and Laura Ingraham, who are most closely associated with Trump, have been aggressively attacking the bill.
“An absolute disaster,” Hannity said this week. “Every Republican should vehemently oppose this.”
What Republicans don’t like
There are several elements that Republicans do not like. It’s not nearly as restrictive as a Separate border billwhich was approved by Republicans months ago in the House of Representatives, but this has no chance of passing in the Senate.
First of all, this bill does not mandate the completion of Trump’s border wall with Mexico. Also, in the border closure provision mentioned above, there is a loophole that allows the president to suspend the measure for up to 45 days if he deems it is in the national interest.
The bill also provides up to $1.4 billion to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) for use by nongovernmental organizations that help illegal immigrants.
While it tightens the ways in which immigrants can be temporarily released into the United States, it does not set a strict cap on the use of so-called parole.
In any case, everything seems doomed to failure.
The Republican leadership faces rebellion
It was always unlikely that the bill would pass the Republican-led House. But some supporters were hoping it would pass through the Senate, either through negotiations or some other method Parliamentary procedural maneuveringSomeone might force a vote on the House floor.
But Republican leaders in the Senate conceded defeat. In fact, they are now suggesting they will vote against it because it makes no sense.
And they are facing an insurrection for even trying to pass it: a group of Senate Republicans, including Ted Cruz, held a press conference to destroy their leadership.
Cruz indicated that it is time for Mitch McConnell to resign from the leadership of the Republican Party, and blamed him for putting the party in an embarrassing impasse.
The Senate must vote on whether to advance the bill to the debate stage. The vote is expected to take place on Wednesday afternoon, and requires 60% to pass, but there is no indication that Republicans will provide the necessary votes.
Top Republicans appeared to have declared the bill dead, with McConnell saying policy had changed and there was no real chance of it becoming law.
But then, he and a number of Republicans proposed the next step: a separate vote on the portion of foreign aid to Ukraine, Israel and Taiwan.
Next step: Break up the bill?
“We still have to, in my view, address the rest of it,” McConnell said. “Because it’s important. It’s not that borders aren’t important — but we can’t come to a conclusion.”
When asked if he was willing to do so, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer responded, ambiguously, that he would have more to say if and when the scheduled vote fails. “Stay tuned.”
Even in this case, there is no guarantee that the Ukraine-Taiwan-Israel bill will pass through the House of Representatives, because it would still require one of two uncertain developments.
The Republican Speaker of the House would have to allow the vote, and face a career-threatening backlash; Or representatives will have to publish a The tactic rarely works The seam is called a discharge.
Meanwhile, Schumer described that moment as a bleak moment for the US Congress, as Republicans abandoned their principles to help Trump “and his friend… Vladimir Putin.”
Worrying global impacts
A former CIA analyst, now a member of Congress, said she returned from a troubling briefing at the Pentagon about some potential global implications.
Elissa Slotkin described Ukraine being attacked without adequate defences; Energy and grain export infrastructure was damaged; Global food prices rise as a result; A wave of refugees fleeing advancing Russian forces; A historical insult to the United States
“Historians may remember this as the moment America gave up on defending democracy,” the Michigan Democrat said to publish On X, formerly Twitter.
“When our political polarization became so bad that we abandoned the principles that our forefathers fought for.”