Former National Security Advisor John Bolton on Monday said he thinks aid for Ukraine will be tied to immigration policy reform to appease Republican demands and allow it to move through both chambers.
Asked on NewsNation’s “The Hill” if he believes Ukraine aid will get tied with “several other options,” Bolton said, “Well, I think everybody on the Republican side wants to tie it to some kind of reform of our immigration policy with respect to Mexico, including [Senate Majority leader Mitch McConnell [R-Ky.], so I think that’s going to happen.”
The White House has repeatedly requested Congress act on further spending for Ukraine, though divisions among lawmakers have delayed such action. Some Republicans have argued against further spending, citing high costs, while some on the right have demanded aid be paired with border security measures.
Bolton reiterated his call to Congress to pass the $61 billion in Ukraine funding requested by the White House, while noting the “hype” of the statement from Office of Management and Budget Director Shalanda Young, who wrote a letter to congressional leaders earlier on Monday saying the government is “out of money — and nearly out of time” to continue giving aid to Ukraine.
“I don’t think it’s needed tomorrow. I do think it’s urgent and I think Congress should approve it,” Bolton said. “I think there’s a little hype in the budget director’s statement, but in terms of substantive policy, there’s no doubt Congress should act on this. I would hope before they go home for Christmas.”
The White House in late October sent an emergency funding request of roughly $106 billion to Congress seeking additional funds for border security, America’s Indo-Pacific allies and Israel and Ukraine in their respective fights against militant group Hamas and Russia.
That request included $61 billion in funding for Ukraine, which the White House has argued is necessary to assist Ukraine as it approaches the winter months.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) on Monday night teed up the first procedural vote on Biden’s $106 billion supplemental package to send aid to Ukraine, Israel, Indo-Pacific countries and for humanitarian use in Gaza. Schumer organized a planned cloture vote on a shell bill, which is expected to take place later in the week.
Schumer said going forward on the measure is needed as Ukraine runs out of resources to fight Russia. If the bill does not include a border component, the bill is unlikely to cross the finish line in the House without it.
Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), the top Democratic negotiator, told reporters talks have struggled as Republicans refuse to let go of what he called “take it or leave it demands.”
There is no firm deadline on when lawmakers need to pass a supplemental bill, meaning talks could continue into next year.
The Hill show on NewsNation airs Monday to Friday at 5 p.m. EST. NewsNation is a cable news channel launched in 2021 by Nexstar Media Group, which owns and operates dozens of local television stations across the country and purchased The Hill in the fall of 2021.
Al Weaver contributed to this report.
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