Although Republican presidential candidate Nikki Haley claimed it was former President Donald Trump who has been “playing politics” with the border by opposing a bill being debated in the U.S. Senate, a cursory view of the proposed legislation reveals plenty of reason for skepticism.
According to reports, the bipartisan bill would provide nearly $50 billion in additional funding to Ukraine, ostensibly for that country to use to secure its border with Russia. Meanwhile, it would only allocate a tiny fraction of that amount — $650 million — for border wall construction along America’s porous southern border.
Nevertheless, the bill’s chief GOP negotiator, U.S. Sen. James Lankford of Oklahoma, touted the small amount as enough “to build and reinforce miles and miles of new border wall.”
While his office was conspicuously vague in its assessment, analysis indicates it would likely only be enough to erect a barrier along just a couple of dozen miles of the lengthy U.S.-Mexico border.
Meanwhile, a growing number of Americans — 57% overall, according to a survey conducted last year — support the continued construction of a border wall.
Instead of devoting the funding necessary to complete that project, however, a group of senators are advocating for even more U.S. cash to be handed over to Ukraine, which has been at the center of multiple scandals involving embezzlement and misallocation of the international funds it has already received in the nearly two years since Russia’s invasion.
The proposal has sparked backlash from Republicans in both chambers of Congress in recent days.
No self-respecting senator should agree to vote on this 370-page bill this week.
Any 41 senators can prevent the bill from proceeding.
If you agree that senators should have this bill for at least a few weeks (and certainly more than a few days) before voting on it, say so! https://t.co/Rf97GwkrpZ
— Mike Lee (@BasedMikeLee) February 4, 2024
“This bill reads like it was drafted in Kiev,” argued U.S. Rep. Anna Paulina Luna (R-FL). “It’s a massive issue that a border bill for AMERICA is more about funding the wars of foreign countries rather than our own interests and people. Any Republican who votes for this will betray the American people.”
For his part, House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-LA) denied claims that his opposition to the bill has been influenced by pressure from Trump.
“Of course not,” Johnson said in an interview on Sunday. “He’s not calling the shots. I am calling the shots for the House. That’s our responsibility. And I have been saying this far longer than President Trump has. I’ve been saying what the requirements are to fix the problem.”