Republicans are voting against a package that includes money for Ukraine and Israel and for border security. Your criticism depends less on the content.

Asylum-seeking migrants from Peru and Ecuador seek shelter from the wind and rain as they await processing at a makeshift camp in the mountains after crossing the border into Mexico.

Asylum-seeking migrants from Peru and Ecuador wait to be processed after crossing the border into Mexico Photo: Gregory Bull/ap/dpa

WASHINGTON taz | The future of the US legislative package, which includes aid for Ukraine and Israel as well as money to secure the US southern border with Mexico, remains uncertain. It failed on Wednesday due to resistance from Republicans in the US Senate. After months of negotiations, Republican and Democratic U.S. senators just reached an agreement on the spending package on Sunday, which would have provided more than $118 billion for border security and support to the two states.

Immediately after the vote failed, Democratic Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer announced another round for Thursday.

The fact that aid to Ukraine and Israel is tied to changes in border protection should persuade Republicans to approve foreign aid. But when it comes to border policy, people just don't want to agree. For many, one thing is clear: America has a problem. Last year, US border guards detained more than 2.5 million migrants and refugees trying to enter the country without authorization. That was a new record.

That is why a solution is being sought in Washington and in many border states. But political games and the lack of willingness to compromise on the part of both parties have so far destroyed all the proposed solutions, which is a problem especially for the affected municipalities. Independent Senator Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona commented on the rejection of the package: “It appears that the border situation does not pose a risk to our national security after all. So ultimately it's just a talking point for the next election.”

Republicans' identity crisis causes package to fail

Although Democrats agreed to many of the stricter border security measures demanded by Republicans, they ultimately did not appear to be enough. More money for border protection, an accelerated decision on residency status and greater freedom of action for the president could have been a starting signal for change. The U.S. Mayors Association described the spending package as an “initial opportunity.” US President Joe Biden also called on the Senate to vote in favor of the package on Tuesday.

However, these and other calls fell on deaf ears. Behind all this is an identity crisis for Republicans: party traditionalists who defend conservative financial policies and efficient government are increasingly a minority. The party – and this is particularly evident in the US House of Representatives – has increasingly adapted to the policies of former President Donald Trump over the past eight years.

It is a sad fact that “too many Republicans have given their votes to Donald Trump. This is the only way to get to a situation where representatives reject a bill before they even read it,” said Democratic Senator Chris Murphy.

Another problem: Republicans simply have no interest in allowing Biden to succeed in the 2024 presidential election. For many, the 81-year-old is easy to criticize, especially in the areas of border security and immigration. Former President Trump, currently the favorite to be nominated as the Republican presidential candidate, knows how to take advantage of this and would also have torpedoed the package, behind the scenes.

Border states want to expand their authority

In the end, this tactic, aimed at delaying the issue of border security until the November elections, could backfire for Republicans. The continued rejection of the package, including aid to Ukraine, could become an international problem. “Turning our backs on Ukraine now would be catastrophic for our own national security,” Democratic Senator Michael Bennett said in an interview with MSNBC television. Defense experts repeat again and again: Without more support from the US, Ukraine could lose the war against Russia, with unknown consequences.

Until Republicans and Democrats can agree on a new plan, others will be required to address these issues. When it comes to the border situation, it is the American states, especially Texas, that want to expand their authority. When it comes to Ukraine, it is the European Union that wants to help with a 50 billion euro package. However, that is not enough.

Collaboration: Lisa Schneider