West Virginia’s senators each say they support financial aid to American allies along with increased support for securing the nation’s border, but they reached different conclusions on whether to advance legislation about those issues.
Senators did not gain enough votes for cloture for a $106 billion supplemental appropriation bill supported by the Biden administration. That’s a step requiring 60 votes to close debate and move toward voting on the actual legislation.
The cloture vote was widely expected to fail over differences on immigration, and it wound up being blocked, 49-51. Besides Republican votes against ending the filibuster on the legislation, Democrat Bernie Sanders was a no vote.
“We need to fix the broken border system — it is broken,” President Biden said from the White House today, adding that he is he is willing to make “significant compromises” on border policy.”
The legislation includes financial support for Israel, Ukraine and Taiwan along with additional financial support for handling immigration. Particularly urgent is the request for aid to Ukraine, with the White House saying money is on pace to run out by the end of the month to support the fight against Russia’s invasion.
“We can’t let [Russian President Vladimir] Putin win. It’s in our overwhelming national interest, in the international interest of all our friends,” Biden said.
Republican senators generally have said they support most aspects of the bill but want a greater emphasis on deterrence in the aspects focused on the border.
Senator Shelley Moore Capito, R.W.Va., kicked off a series of speeches by Republicans on the Senate floor this afternoon, agreeing that she supports all aspects of the bill except that she believes the border measures need to be strengthened.
“We cannot achieve national security as a whole without securing our own borders,” Capito said in her floor speech.
She continued by saying, “Ukraine is facing an unjust and unprovoked ground war perpetrated by Russia. Our ally and friend in Israel is under attack by terrorists who are holding women and children hostage — and the recounting we’ve heard of sexual violence against the women in Israel on October the 7th is appalling.
“Our allies in the Indo Pacific face heightened concern as rival nations increase their aggression. And right here in the United States, we are facing the worst border crisis in our nation’s history. These four areas are directly tied together.”
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.
“We’re not just talking about funding, but rather changes that ensure that those who enter our country are coming through legal channels and that they are properly vetted,” she said.
“Sounds pretty simple to me, both things that we should all agree are necessary aspects of a working immigration system. But instead, this administration, the Biden administration, has incentivized abuses of our asylum laws that have led to the greatest border crisis in our nation’s history. It’s open borders, catch and release. And this has at turn, in turn, put our national security at risk.”
Senator Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., also expressed support for the aid package and said the border security measures need to be strengthened.
But in a written statement, Manchin said he would vote to move the legislation ahead because he had received assurances of more work on its border policy aspects.
“Commonsense should dictate that we need to secure our own border in addition to helping Ukraine and Israel secure theirs. In the greatest country on Earth, we do not have to choose between protecting our homeland and defending our allies. My support for Israel and Ukraine is unwavering but it does not supersede my commitment to my own country,” Manchin stated.
“We need major, structural reforms to limit the number of illegal crossings at our southern border and regain operational control. I am voting to proceed on this bill because I have received a commitment from Majority Leader Chuck Schumer that we can add amendments to the national security supplemental that will secure our border.”