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House Republicans scramble to craft alternative border, Ukraine bill after Senate’s proposal rejected

house-republicans-scramble-to-craft-alternative-border,-ukraine-bill-after-senate’s-proposal-rejected
House Republicans scramble to craft alternative border, Ukraine bill after Senate’s proposal rejected

House Republicans are scrambling to craft an Israel and Ukraine spending bill with US border security provisions after rejecting a Senate proposal to tackle those issues.

Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick (R-Penn.) teased to reporters Wednesday that an alternative proposal is in the works and could be unveiled imminently.

“Stay tuned in the next 24 hours, I think you’ll see something that I think will be bipartisan,” he said, according to Politico.

Fitzpatrick, who is also a co-chair of the Problem Solvers Caucus, didn’t divulge too many specifics about the plan but suggested it may contain provisions that are “very similar” to the Senate package.

Brian Fitzpatrick

Brian Fitzpatrick has been ranked as one of the most bipartisan members in the lower chamber. Michael Brochstein/SOPA Images/Shutterstock

It remains unclear how many members have collaborated with Fitzpatrick on that initiative and whether Democrats will play along.

Last week, the Senate voted down a sprawling $118 billion national security supplemental bill featuring aid to war-torn Ukraine, Israel, and Taiwan, as well as deep reforms to bolster border security in a 49-50 vote.

That came amid House Speaker Mike Johnson’s (R-La.) and former President Donald Trump’s public opposition to the border provisions, which they demanded to be part of any supplemental.

Johnson deemed the border reforms in that compromise package insufficient.

The Senate then took up and ultimately passed early Tuesday a $95 billion national security supplemental without the border security provisions, with 22 Republicans on board.

Johnson vowed not to take that up in the lower chamber either.

Speaker Mike Johnson

Speaker Mike Johnson is leading a deeply divided and threadbare House Republican majority. AP

Last year, House Republicans rolled out their blueprint for tackling the border crisis in HR 2, also known as the Secure the Border Act of 2023, which Democrats deemed a nonstarter and too harsh.

They’ve sought to entice Democrats into passing a package similar to HR 2.

Democrats and the White House have slammed Republicans for tanking the border deal and stonewalling additional funding to arm Ukraine with more weaponry in their fight against Russian invaders.

Ukraine has emerged as a fissure among Republicans, with many in the House of Representatives deeply skeptical of writing another big check to the beleaguered ally.

Johnson, who indicated he would support sending more aid to Ukraine if done the right way, complained Wednesday that President Biden has turned down multiple attempts to lock down a one-on-one meeting and iron out their differences on these key issues.

“I’ve been requesting a meeting with the president for weeks now, a month,” Johnson told reporters Wednesday. “I’ve been asking to sit down with the President to talk about the border and talk about national security. And that meeting has not been granted.”

White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre downplayed the need for a meeting between Biden and Johnson when asked about the apparent snub.

“What is there to negotiate? Really, truly, what is the one-on-one negotiation about when he’s been presented with exactly what he’s asked for?” she said. “He’s negotiating with himself.”

Joe Biden

House Speaker Mike Johnson claimed that President Biden rejected his request for a meeting. Getty Images

House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY) pledged Tuesday that Democrats would deploy “every available legislative tool” in their arsenal to push the national security package through the lower chamber.

He was coy about whether that included a discharge petition, a rarely successfully used parliamentary tool to bring up legislation for a vote on the House vote without the speaker’s blessing.

Hakeem Jeffries

Democrats are trying to make Republicans pay a political price for moving to squelch the Senate’s national security supplemental. Getty Images

Jeffries further sought to underscore the need for passing the supplemental in the wake of House Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Turner’s (R-Ohio) cryptic warning about an unspecified “serious national security threat” Wednesday that reportedly pertains to Russia.

“The most urgent national security threat facing the American people right now is the possibility that Congress abandons Ukraine and allows Vladimir Putin’s Russia to win,” Jeffries needled Wednesday.

Meanwhile, the Pentagon has warned that funding for Kyiv has run dry.

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