The bipartisan border security bill that was supposed to be voted on this week has already hit a brick wall. Senate Republicans have voiced opposition and House Speaker Mike Johnson, R-La. Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La) has said that the bill, in its current state, is “dead upon arrival” in the House.
Schumer wants a Senate vote to take place on Wednesday. It’s therefore worth examining what makes this bill tick. We can criticize many of the provisions in the bill but I’d like to focus today on funding.
You’d expect that since politicians of both parties have called this bill a “border-security bill,” the majority of funding would be allocated to the border. But not so fast.
House Republicans oppose the Senate immigration bill because it fails in every policy area needed to secure our border and would actually incentivize more illegal…
— Speaker Mike Johnson (@SpeakerJohnson) February 5, 2024
Here’s a breakdown of the funding as reported by Reuters:
According to Senator Patty Murray who chairs the Senate Appropriations Committee, in addition to the $20.23 billion allocated for border security, this bill also included $60.06 million to support Ukraine’s war with Russia. It also included $14.1 billion of security assistance to Israel.
An additional $10 billion will provide humanitarian aid for civilians living in conflict zones, including Ukraine, Gaza, and the West Bank. However, the bill contains a clause that prevents the money from being sent to UNRWA, the U.N. agency working for Palestinians. The Biden administration, along with other nations, has halted funding for the agency due to allegations that some staff members were involved in Hamas’ Oct. 7 attacks on southern Israel.
Only $20.23 billion of the $118 billion allocated to border funding is spent on it. I created a chart to show the breakdown. Since Reuters’ totals don’t add up to $118 billion I added a “Other” line.
It’s even more shocking when you look at it in percentages.
This bill only allocates 17% of its funds to the border. Ukraine receives more than half of the funds, or roughly three times as much money, compared to the border. No matter how you feel regarding Ukraine funding, giving another $60 billion without any accountability to Volodymyr Zelenskyy is not a good idea. That’s not the only thing.
Israel receives just under $14 billion. This is the minimum we can do for such an important ally. Another $10 billion will go to Gaza, where we know that it is very likely to end up in the hands of Hamas. A further $4.83 billion is spent on the Red Sea conflict. Add all that money up and you’ll find more money going to the Middle East.
The bill also sends our allies, who are fighting China, a pitiful $2.44 billion. Like the U.S. says, “Oh you’re dealing the threat of China?” [Throws small bills at allies.] Buy yourself something nice with this. “We’re going focus on Ukraine.”
It’s an old saying that can be applied to many situations, but it seems to fit here. You can tell what someone values by how much money they spend. This bill is funded.
For nearly two years, it has been evident that Washington, and particularly the Democrats, have prioritized Ukraine above all other foreign policy initiatives. This narrative is only fueled by the disproportionate funding allocated to Kyiv. This bill also shows the legislators who drafted it see Ukraine as more important than our national security. Otherwise, Zelenskyy would not be receiving nearly three times the amount of money as the border.
Someone needs to remind everyone that Washington must prioritize our border crisis. We won’t be able to defend our nation if we don’t fix the border.