Sunday, April 21, 2024
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House, Senate at odds with impeachment and Ukraine funding



The House and Senate have each passed major legislative achievements after weeks of internal battling, but both are unlikely to make progress in the other chamber.

The U.S. House of Representatives voted to impeach Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas this week, the first time a sitting cabinet member has been impeached.

The unusual vote comes amid a major border crisis and growing frustration among the states about the flood of illegal immigrants, more than 10 million since Biden took office.

After the impeachment vote, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., called it a “sham” and a “new low” for Republicans.

Meanwhile, the U.S. Senate managed to pass a $95 billion foreign aid bill mostly sending military assistance to Ukraine and Israel as well as some humanitarian aid for Gaza and funding to support Taiwan.

The hard fought passage came after significant Republican pushback and a lengthy filibuster. About half of Senate Republicans voted against the bill, a bill that former President Donald Trump, the current Republican presidential frontrunner, openly attacked.

“From this point forward, are you listening u.s. Senate(?), no money in the form of foreign aid should be given to any country unless it is done as a loan, not just a giveaway,” Trump said in a statement in all capital letters. “It can be loaned on extraordinarily good terms, like no interest and an unlimited life, but a loan nevertheless.”

While the Senate considering Mayorkas’ impeachment seems nearly impossible, it appears more possible that House Republicans buckle and consider some version of the Senate foreign aid deal.

But earlier this week, Johnson released a statement making clear he was unhappy with the Senate’s foreign aid bill.

“Now, in the absence of having received any single border policy change from the Senate, the House will have to continue to work its own will on these important matters,” Johnson said. “America deserves better than the Senate’s status quo.”

President Joe Biden delivered a speech this week calling on House Republicans to do just that, a move that is largely aimed at Johnson, who has the power to change course on the issue.

“For Republicans in Congress who think they can oppose funding for Ukraine and not be held accountable: History is watching,” Biden said during his Tuesday speech. “History is watching. History is watching. Failure to support Ukraine at this critical moment will never be forgotten.”

Republicans have been increasingly critical of the tens of billions of dollars going to Ukraine, arguing that sending the money risks a broader conflict with Russia and that the funds could be better used elsewhere, such as securing the southern border.

An effort between Senate Republican and Democratic leadership to add border provisions to the bill failed. Republicans said the border provisions would do more harm than good and that the president already has the authority and funds to close the border, just not the political will.

Biden attempted to address some of Republicans’ concerns in his remarks.

“And the way it works is we supply Ukraine with military equipment from our stockpiles, and then we spend our money replenishing those stockpiles so our military has access to them — stockpiles that are made right here in America by American workers,” Biden said. “That not only supports American jobs and American communities, it allows us to invest in maintaining and strengthening our own defense manufacturing capacity.”