Majority Senate Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) held a press conference outside the White House after he and three other congressional leaders met with President Joe Biden on Wednesday to discuss a deal focusing on the southern border and aid to Ukraine.
While Republicans have mentioned that border security is a top priority, Schumer stated that the Democrats main focus lies elsewhere. According to Schumer, aid to Ukraine is more important than ensuring America’s borders are secure.
“There was tremendous focus on Ukraine,” said Schumer about the meeting, “and an understanding that if we don’t come to Ukraine’s aid, that the consequences for America around the globe would be nothing short of devastating.”
Schumer’s comments come after months of Congress’ attempt to agree on an aid package for the war-torn country. Knowing that Republicans would not agree on sending money to Ukraine, Democrats attached a border deal on top to try and get them to pass the deal.
While the border deal and the aid package for Ukraine could easily become two separate deals, Schumer admitted that it is a package deal, trying to coerce Republicans by finally doing something about the disaster at the border.
Chuck Schumer says Democrats won't fund border security until they get money for the war effort in Ukraine. pic.twitter.com/QiBXoRHkf5
— Citizen Free Press (@CitizenFreePres) January 17, 2024
“There were a couple of people in the room who said let’s do border first. We said we have to do both together. Let me make one more point: the only way we will do border and Ukraine, or even either of them, is bipartisan.”
According to Biden’s top national security adviser Jake Sullivan, Biden is “laser focused” on having Congress pass an aid package estimated at $60 billion to help Ukraine fend off Russia in the next few weeks.
Ukraine is not the only country Democrats are wanting to send money to. Schumer also mentioned providing funds to the Middle East to help with the Israel-Hamas conflict.
“I am more optimistic now that we can come to an agreement on border and Ukraine in one package, along with aid to Israel, along with humanitarian aid for the Palestinians in Gaza, and along with helping Indochina.”
Schumer might feel optimistic about an agreement however Republicans have stated that the deal will not pass if it neglects to effectively secure the border.
House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-LA) admitted that there was concern for Ukraine’s sovereignty but stated that the American people had the same concern involving the U.S border. He said that if Democrats want to pass the deal, the border deal must have the same guidelines found in HR2.