© Reuters. U.S. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) speaks during a press conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., November 14, 2023. REUTERS/Elizabeth Frantz/File Photo
By Patricia Zengerle and Katharine Jackson
WASHINGTON (Reuters) -The U.S. Senate will begin consideration of legislation including aid for Israel and Ukraine as soon as next week, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said on Tuesday, adding that an aid bill is needed even if there is no agreement with Republicans on funding for border security measures.
“I’m going to put them on the floor next week, hopefully with bipartisan support, because that’s the only way you can get it done,” Schumer told a weekly news conference.
Biden asked Congress last month to approve $106 billion in national security funding, including aid for Ukraine as it battles a Russian invasion, support for Israel after the Oct. 7 attacks by Hamas militants and money for additional security at the U.S. border with Mexico.
But the funding has not been approved, raising concerns that funds for Ukraine in particular might never pass, particularly after the Republican-led House passed a bill including assistance for Israel, but not Ukraine.
Senator Patty Murray, who chairs the Senate Appropriations Committee, said the Senate must pass a funding bill that includes security assistance for Ukraine and Israel, humanitarian assistance and funding for U.S. allies in the Indo-Pacific.
“We cannot do half our job and essentially tell the world America only stands with some of its allies some of the time,” Murray said.
Biden’s request to Congress included $60 billion for Ukraine – about half to replenish U.S. military stockpiles – as well as about $14 billion each for Israel and security at the border with Mexico.
Senate Republicans said they would reject a supplemental spending bill if it did not include money for the border.
A dramatic increase in the number of undocumented migrants crossing into the southwestern United States has challenged the country’s capacity to detain and process newcomers, posing a political challenge for Biden as he seeks re-election next year.
Congress has approved $113 billion for Ukraine since the invasion began in February 2022. That funding could be depleted within a few months.