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Democrats in US Congress reject demands for new border policies in exchange for Ukraine aid

Friday, 12 January 2024, 17:29
Democrats in US Congress reject demands for new border policies in exchange for Ukraine aid
Mike Johnson, Speaker of the House of Representatives of the US Congress. Photo: Getty Images

Democrats have rejected demands made by Mike Johnson, Speaker of the House of Representatives, that the US border with Mexico be strengthened in return for aiding Ukraine.

Source: European Pravda with reference to The Hill

Details: Johnson stated on 10 January that Republicans in the House of Representatives would reject any additional aid to Kyiv unless significant elements of the GOP's previous border bill – such as building hundreds of miles of new wall on the US-Mexico border – were included.

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"That border fight is coming, and we’re going to die on that hill," he said.

House Democrats, who are in favour of stricter immigration restrictions but not more funding for border security, immediately hit back against those remarks. They have threatened to thwart any package on Ukraine that contains those border security clauses if Johnson puts it to a vote, which is a serious threat because Democratic support is required for the bill to pass.

"That would be ridiculous. Unfortunately it would be to the detriment of Ukraine if they did that," said Democrat Congressman Mark Pocan.

The border wall, in particular, has been the subject of fierce debate between the parties in recent years, and Johnson's proposal was swiftly rejected by Democrats, who warned that they would never support a package on Ukraine that included the construction of a wall as envisioned in the Republican border bill.

"That’s a non-starter for me, and I think for most of us," said Democratic Congressman Juan Vargas.

"I don’t think it’s realistic," Bennie Thompson, the senior Democrat on the Homeland Security Committee, commented as well.

Democratic Congressman Raúl Grijalva went even further, accusing Republicans of offering pseudo-solutions to very complex problems with the sole purpose of riling nationalist voters.

The disagreement over how best to handle the situation at the southern border, and Johnson's demands in particular, has added another challenge to the months-long endeavour to provide more military aid to Ukraine, which has been beset by the full-scale Russian invasion for almost two years.

Background:

  • The White House has stated that it has funds for only one package of military assistance to Ukraine, after which it will run out of money without a congressional decision.
  • After Russia’s large-scale attack on Ukraine on the night of 29-30 December, US President Joe Biden stressed that Congress needs to approve additional aid for Ukraine as soon as possible.
  • On 27 December, the US announced a US$250 million military aid package for Ukraine – its final one in 2023.

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