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US Senate unveils $118.3 billion funding bill for Ukraine, Israel and border

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US senators on Sunday released the text of a much-anticipated deal that would unlock billions in new aid for Ukraine and Israel while tightening US border laws — although its prospects for becoming law are unclear.

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The so-called national security supplemental legislation provides for $118.3 billion in total funding, including $60 billion to support for war-torn Ukraine, matching the White House’s request, and $14.1 billion in security assistance to Israel, according to a summary released by Senate Appropriations Committee chair Patty Murray.

The deal also includes $20.2 billion for US border security and a myriad of immigration policy changes agreed to by Democratic and Republican negotiators.

It is not clear that the bill has the 60 backers it will need to clear the first procedural vote in the Democratic-controlled Senate, expected on Wednesday at the latest.

Senators have been negotiating for months on a deal to combat illegal immigration, with Republicans insisting on bolstered border security in return for approving President Joe Biden’s funding request for Kyiv.

Release of the text was met with swift approval from the White House, which highlighted the decades-long pursuit to reform the country’s “broken” immigration system.

“Now we’ve reached an agreement on a bipartisan national security deal that includes the toughest and fairest set of border reforms in decades. I strongly support it,” Biden said in a statement.

He also urged Republicans — who control the House of Representatives and have been pressured by White House hopeful Donald Trump to oppose the deal — to back the bipartisan package.

“If you believe, as I do, that we must secure the border now, doing nothing is not an option,” he said.

House Speaker Mike Johnson had previously declared the package “dead on arrival,” although he appeared to change tack when he told Fox Business on Friday that he’s “not prejudging anything.”

(AFP)

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