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Ukraine, Israel, and border with Mexico: New budget request introduced in U.S. Senate

Ukraine, Israel, and border with Mexico: New budget request introduced in U.S. Senate Democratic senators introduce a new financial aid project for Ukraine (photo: Getty Images)

On Tuesday, December 5, the Democratic majority in the United States Senate introduced a national security package totaling about $111 billion. The document includes financial assistance to Ukraine and Israel, as well as a comprehensive set of measures to protect the southern border with Mexico, according to The Hill.

The 167-page bill allocates over $15 billion to support Ukraine, specifically for needs in areas such as military training, intelligence exchange, and enhancing presence in the European Command's area of responsibility.

Additionally, the document also provides $10.6 billion in aid to Israel, with $4 billion intended for missile defense, and $1.2 billion to expedite the development of the Iron Dome missile defense system.

The package's summary also mentions $43.6 billion to increase Israel's manufacturing capabilities in arms and ammunition, as well as investments in the American industrial base for submarines and expanding their stockpiles.

Putin must not be allowed to outwait

In a statement accompanying the introduction of the bill in the Senate, Republican Senator Patty Murray, chair of the Senate Appropriations Committee, deemed it extremely important to continue our support for Ukraine at this critical moment and to make it clear to Putin and other dictators that they cannot just wait out the United States.

"Senators have long needed to stop tying partisan and extremist immigration proposals to broadly bipartisan funding bills. This package also bolsters whole-of-government efforts to stop the flow of fentanyl and combat transnational criminal organizations involved in its illicit trade," Murray said.

Protecting the southern border of the United States from migrants

Among the provisions highlighted by Democrats in the package, The Hill notes, is the allocation of approximately $1.4 billion to hire immigration judge teams, including assistant chief counsel, attorneys, attorney assistants, court administrators, interpreters, and other support staff.

Additionally, the bill allocates hundreds of millions of dollars to address the shortage of collected DNA samples from migrants detained by U.S. Border Patrol, and strengthens the Drug Enforcement Administration's laboratory analysis of illegal fentanyl samples to trace illicit opioid shipments back to producers.

According to Democratic senators, the bill includes over $5 billion in emergency funding for the U.S. Customs and Border Protection and about $2.3 billion in emergency funding for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

The document is expected to be brought to the first procedural vote on Wednesday, December 6, as Democratic senators argue that Ukraine urgently needs military assistance due to the ongoing conflict with Russia.

However, The Hill notes that the vote on the bill may fail, as Republicans insist on more aggressive proposals regarding border security.

Political clashes over U.S. financial aid to Israel and Ukraine

Over the past month, a fierce political battle has erupted in the U.S. Congress between Democrats and Republicans over bills providing financial assistance to Ukraine and Israel, as well as funding for security along the country's southern border with Mexico.

By the end of October, over $5.4 billion allocated for military aid to Ukraine remained in the U.S. President Joe Biden requested $106 billion from Congress for assistance to Israel and Ukraine, as well as to strengthen the defense-industrial complex. Of this amount, $61.3 billion was proposed for Ukraine, and $14.3 billion for Israel.

However, on November 2, the House of Representatives approved an alternative bill by newly-elected Speaker Mike Johnson, which only provides $14.3 billion in military aid to Israel, excluding Ukraine. The Democratic majority in the Senate blocked the consideration of this document.

Later, Johnson proposed a temporary two-step funding bill without including assistance to Ukraine and Israel. On November 15, the Senate supported this bill to avoid a U.S. government shutdown. On November 16, President Joe Biden signed the document into law.

Threat of arms supply disruption to Ukraine

Recently, the National Security Advisor to the U.S. President, Jake Sullivan, stated that the United States would not be able to provide weapons to Ukraine if Congress does not support the bill on financial assistance to the country.

On December 6, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell announced that he would encourage Republicans to vote against providing financial assistance to Ukraine. Republicans are demanding that any bill providing assistance to Ukraine and Israel also include changes aimed at strengthening the security of U.S. borders.

Negotiations between Democratic and Republican senators on securing the southern U.S. border with Mexico recently failed.