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US Senate unveils $118bn deal on border, aid for Israel and Ukraine | Politics News

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President Joe Biden urges Congress to swiftly pass bill after months of wrangling over immigration and support for Kyiv.

The United States Senate has unveiled a $118bn bipartisan deal that would boost border security and provide wartime aid for Israel and Ukraine.

US President Joe Biden and Democratic and Republican leaders in the Senate have been pushing to resupply Ukraine with wartime aid but have faced resistance from conservative Republicans who have insisted on measures to tackle illegal immigration at the border with Mexico.

The bill announced on Sunday would provide $60bn in aid to Ukraine, whose efforts to push back Russia’s invasion have been hampered by a halt in US shipments of ammunition and missiles.

The deal would also provide $14.1bn in military aid to Israel: $2.44bn to address security in the Red Sea, where Yemen’s Houthi rebels have launched dozens of attacks on commercial shipping, and $4.83bn to support partners in Asia where tensions have spiked between China and Taiwan.

Under the deal, the president would be granted new powers to immediately expel migrants if authorities become overwhelmed with asylum claims and applications at the border would be subject to quicker and tougher enforcement.

Illegal immigration is expected to be a key issue during the presidential election in November, with Republican frontrunner Donald Trump campaigning heavily on claims of an “invasion” from the southern border.

Biden on Sunday urged Congress to “swiftly pass” the deal so he could sign it into law, warning Republicans who have expressed alarm about the security of the border that “doing nothing is not an option”

“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.

Democratic Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said he would aim to hold a vote on the bill on Wednesday, but the package faces uncertain prospects in both the upper house and the House of Representatives amid scepticism from Republicans, including Speaker Mike Johnson.

“The Senate’s bipartisan agreement is a monumental step towards strengthening America’s national security abroad and along our borders,” Schumer said in a statement.

“This is one of the most necessary and important pieces of legislation Congress has put forward in years to ensure America’s future prosperity and security.”

In an interview with NBC’s Meet the Press on Sunday, Johnson, who had previously declared the package “dead on arrival,” said his efforts to involve House Republicans in the Senate deal had been rebuffed and reiterated support for a House package of tough immigration measures.

“What we’re saying is, you have to stem the flow,” Johnson said.

The package’s support for Israel could also face resistance from some Democrats.

Senator Bernie Sanders, an independent from Vermont, has called for the removal of $10bn earmarked for offensive weaponry while keeping funds for defensive systems.

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