Congress To Rush Deals On Aid And Border

( – Congress is rushing to advance measures to address both Ukrainian aid and border security issues, with critical decisions looming as the year-end recess approaches. Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskyy is set to present his case for increased US assistance during his meetings in Washington this week, as lawmakers grapple with intricate negotiations.

Scheduled meetings at the White House and with Congressional members on Tuesday, December 12, underscore the urgency of these discussions. The prospect of continued aid to Ukraine faces scrutiny from many Republican lawmakers.

However, progress is impeded by a demand from House Speaker Mike Johnson and other Republicans linking funds for Ukraine to fortified US border controls. This stipulation has generated debate and complexity in ongoing negotiations, hampering the swift passage of legislation. President Joe Biden has urged Congress to act before the year concludes, calling for approximately $50 billion in new security assistance for Ukraine. Additionally, Senate Democrats propose humanitarian and economic aid for Kyiv, alongside $15 billion for Israel’s conflict with Hamas in Gaza.

Despite ongoing talks between the White House and House Republican leaders, a deal has not yet materialized. Notably, discussions involve potential adjustments to US asylum processes to mitigate border crossings. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer indicated the need for provisions regarding immigrants, such as expedited work permits and enhanced access to legal representation.

Warnings of potential national security threats have resonated in Congress, emphasizing the imperative to renew US military assistance to Ukraine.

Negotiations have been strained, with senators from both parties focusing on tightening US asylum laws as part of the broader compromise. However, disagreements persist, with Senator Chris Murphy deeming the latest proposal from Republican Senator James Lankford “unreasonable.” The uncertainty surrounding a bipartisan deal raises concerns about the potential influence of former President Donald Trump, a significant factor as Congress races against time to address both Ukrainian aid and border security concerns.

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