US flags near the Capitol
US Capitol AFP

The Senate passed on Tuesday a $95.3 billion aid bill for Israel, Ukraine and Taiwan, moving ahead with the one of the two issues that have dominated Capitol Hill during the past months, the domestic one being border security.

The process showed once again the internal rifts within the Republican party, as a faction of more than 40% of its members in the Senate voted against the bill, and some high-ranking officials in the House have already showed skepticism towards it as well.

Concretely, 22 Republicans voted along with almost all Democrats to pass the bill 70-29. Detractors had argued that the U.S. should focus on domestic issues before sending more funds abroad, while supporters said that continuing to withhold funds from Ukraine could embolden Russia and increase national security issues around the world. Two Democrats and independent Bernie Sanders also voted against it, opposing the U.S. send offensive weaponry to Israel.

"Will we give those who wish us harm more reason to question our resolve, or will we recommit to exercising American strength?" asked Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell. The bill includes some $60 billion for Ukraine, $14 billion for Israel in its war against Hamas, $9.2 billion in humanitarian assistance for Gaza and $8 billion for Taiwan.

While U.S. allies are likely welcoming the news, the bill still faces steep odds in the House, as those aligned with former President Donald Trump have voiced opposition to it.

House Speaker Mike Johnson put the skepticism in words, sharply criticizing the bill and saying it didn't have border security provisions, therefore being "silent on the most pressing issue facing our country." He added that it could be weeks of months before the House votes on the bill, if that happens at all.

Mike Johnson AFP

The Senate removed the border security bill part of the legislation after the same Republican faction came out against a bipartisan negotiation as soon as it came out.

The five-month-long negotiation would have overhauled the asylum system at the border with faster and tougher enforcement, and given presidents new powers to immediately expel migrants if authorities became overwhelmed with the number of people applying for asylum."

If illegal crossings surpassed the 5,000 figure for five straight days on average, an authority could have began automatically and rejected migrants even before making asylum claims. If the figure reached 4,000, the government would have had the ability to do so.

Overall, $20 billion would have been allocated to immigration enforcement. The figure included hiring thousands of new officers to evaluate asylum claims and hundreds of Border Patrol agents. It would also had destined money to shelters and cities across the U.S. where thousands of migrants have arrived in the past months.

However, Republicans opposed it, with many supporting Donald Trump and saying the bill didn't go far enough. That led Senate leaders to introduce the foreign aid package on its own, as they had originally intended before Republicans demanded border security provisions be introduced.

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