By: Arjun Singh, Daily Caller News Foundation
Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Ben Cardin said on Thursday that sending aid to Ukraine is more important than border security.
Since the Ukraine-Russia war began in 2022, the United States has provided over $75 billion in aid to the country. Republicans have opposed Senate Democrats’ proposed $61 billion aid package to Israel unless it is accompanied by border security reforms amid a surge in illegal immigration at the United States’ southern border with Mexico.
“Ukraine,” said Cardin, in response to the DCNF’s question about which priority was more important. Republicans in Congress have accused Democrats of being insufficiently concerned with border security, with House Speaker Mike Johnson saying that Republicans’ “first condition on any national security supplemental spending package is … our own national security first.”
Cardin indicated that he would support a package that accommodates border security measures, which appears necessary to acquire the support of the Republican-controlled House of Representatives.
“There’s a group negotiating for a bipartisan package that addresses the challenges we have at our border. I’m okay with that. I don’t want it to stop the supplemental from passing,” said Cardin. “I would prefer it to be in a different package. But if it’s agreement reached in this package is bipartisan. I’ll be okay with it.
Cardin indicated that a compromise on asylum law may be possible.
“I think, you know, border security is important. I think we need to do border security. So I recognize there are a lot of people coming to our border, many of whom are seeking asylum and are not qualified,” Cardin said. I would like to be able to make those determinations a lot faster So people know that they’re not gonna just walk into America and if they don’t have the proper reasons to be able to get entry into this country, and that determinations are made quickly.”
House Republicans have criticized the Senate for refusing to pass its bill, H.R. 2, known as the “Secure the Border Act” that they passed in May. The bill, which orders the construction of a border wall begun during the Trump administration and reforms asylum policies, has been opposed by Democrats.
“For almost 3 years, the Biden Administration, supported by liberal Democrats, has allowed our southern border to become a national security nightmare,” wrote Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina in a statement to the DCNF. “Every day that goes by without a secure border, the chance for another 9/11 goes up.”
“We want to reach a middle ground with Republicans on the border. It’s important. But we cannot waste time on something like H.R. 2, which every single Democrat voted against, which could never pass the [Senate], while the clock is ticking to get Ukraine the help it so desperately needs,” said Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer on Dec. 6. On Thursday, he announced that the Senate would remain in session the following week, during its planned holiday recess, to reach a compromise and pass a bill.