By Steven Allen Adams, The Parkersburg News and Sentinel
CHARLESTON, W.Va. — A bill to provide much needed funding for the Ukrainian war effort, Israel’s fight against Hamas, and Taiwan defense spending hit a brick wall in the U.S. Senate Wednesday over a debate whether to include funding for the U.S. southern border.
Senate Republicans denied the national security supplemental bill the 60 votes necessary for cloture, which would have allowed the full Senate to consider the bill and debate amendments.
Senate Appropriations Committee Chairwoman Patty Murray, D-Wash., released the text of the national security supplemental Tuesday. The $110.5 billion package includes assistance to Ukraine as it continues to fight a Russian invasion; security assistance for Israel after terrorist group Hamas attacked the country in October; and support for Indo-Pacific countries — including Taiwan — concerned about Chinese encroachments.
The bill includes funding for domestic munitions and weapons production to restore depleted stockpiles, humanitarian assistance for Ukrainian refugees, and humanitarian assistance for Palestinians displaced by the Israel/Hamas conflict in Gaza.
The supplemental also includes funding for detecting and combating fentanyl trafficking, which in many cases comes in from China to Mexico and into the U.S. And resources for the U.S. southern border with Mexico, including reducing processing and backlogs of adjudications, support for Central and South American countries to stem the number of people seeking to cross the border illegally, and providing more humane ways to handle encounters at the border.
However, Senate Republicans are wanting stronger border protection policies included in the national security supplemental, including granting greater authority to the executive branch to deny applications for asylum seekers at the southern border.