Capito supports aid to Israel, Ukraine and Taiwan but is holding out for increased border security too

Senator Shelley Moore Capito says she supports aid to American allies Israel, Ukraine and Taiwan but won’t vote to move ahead with a supplemental appropriation bill unless it also includes significant reforms for United States border policy.

Shelley Moore Capito

“I’m not gonna vote to let the bill go forward until we have substantive changes at the border because I think this priority is just as high as some of the others,” Capito, R-W.Va., said today on MetroNews’ “Talkline,” referring to the 60-member cloture threshold in the Senate for debate to conclude and move toward passage votes on legislation.

President Joe Biden last month proposed a $106 billion package that includes aid Ukraine and Israel and additional financial support for border security.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., has aimed to bring the bundled legislation to the floor by next week. Congressional Republicans have been pushing for U.S.-Mexico border policy changes to halt the flow of migrants.

“The biggest holdup to the national security assistance package right now is the insistence by our Republican colleagues on partisan border policy as a condition for vital Ukraine aid. This has injected a decades old, hyper-partisan issue into overwhelmingly bipartisan priorities,” Schumer stated in a letter to colleagues.

In a Senate Republican press conference earlier this week, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said the border policy changes are a must.

“I think it’s important for Israel, for Ukraine, for Taiwan — and also to secure the border,” said McConnell, R-Ky.

“I called the president last week to make sure he understood that there wouldn’t be a bill without incredible effort to get on top of our disastrous southern border situation. I hope that made the point because I think on our side I’ve been the most enthusiastic supporter of the underlying bill, but this has to be a part of it. It’s extremely important that it be a part of it.”

Right now, the proposal includes $4.4 billion for the Department of Homeland Security and $3.1 billion for additional Border Patrol agents, asylum officers and processing personnel. It also includes $1.4 billion to help state and local governments with shelter and services for migrants. And the request seeks $1.2 billion in additional funding to boost narcotics detection and interdiction at the border.

Capito has said the bill needs more support for deterrence.

During a briefing today with West Virginia reporters, she reiterated her support for Israel, Ukraine and Taiwan. But she described herself as applying leverage to the border security elements of the bill.

“So in order for our national security interests to be served, we have to have a four-prong approach here on a supplemental, which are the four that I mentioned — our own national security at the border, Israel, Ukraine and Taiwan,” Capito said.

She said any bill “must have significant immigration policy changes in there that will affect the actual flow of people coming into our country before I will vote for that — keeping in mind, I support the other provisions of that package. But this is the leverage that I think we can make changes in our immigration policy.”

Capito noted the work of a bipartisan group on immigration, with the involvement of representatives from the White House.

“So I’m not overly optimistic here,” she said, “but I know that in order for this policy to go through with aid of places that I think is exceedingly important, it must have that border policy changes incorporated in it because of the importance to our own national security.”

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