Helen Cox Richardson characterized the events yesterday, Monday February 5th, as exceedingly weird, when Republicans repudiated an immigration + national security bill that they helped to fashion Here are her remarks, compressed somewhat.
The Senate on Sunday, the 4th, unveiled a national security supplemental bill, the result of four months of bipartisan negotiations. The bill aimed to address multiple crises, including offering aid to Ukraine, Israel, and Gaza, alongside measures to secure the U.S. southern border. This move was partly in response to demands from extremist House Republicans, who insisted on border security measures as a condition for supporting the aid package. The bill proposed $60.1 billion in military aid for Ukraine, $14.1 billion for Israel, $10 billion in humanitarian aid for various crises, and approximately $20 billion for U.S. border security enhancements. These enhancements included hiring additional officials, expanding detention facilities, tighthening the overwhelmed amnesty system, and improving drug detection methods.
As Richardson wrote, “It appears the MAGA Republicans never really intended for such a measure to pass. They apparently thought that demanding that Congress agree to a border measure, which it has not been able to do now for decades, would kill the national security bill altogether. Certainly, once news began to spread that the negotiators were close to a deal, both former president Trump and House speaker Mike Johnson (R-LA), who said he was conferring with Trump, came out strongly against the measure even before anyone knew what was in it.”
The opposition to the bill, especially from MAGA Republicans, seemed to undermine efforts to support Ukraine in its conflict with Russia, a stance that not only affects international security but also the moral and strategic interests of the U.S. This opposition continued even though the bill included significant concessions to Republican demands for border security, showcasing a complex interplay of domestic politics and international security commitments. The rejection of the bill by key Republican figures, despite its potential passage in the House, highlighted deep divisions and the influence of Trump’s agenda on the Republican Party’s approach to national security and foreign policy.