Shattered Congress Struggles To Move Ahead

Colorado Democrat Senator Michael Bennet has been using unrelated bills as a political pawn to get Congress to accept economic and military help worth tens of billions of dollars for Ukraine. He pleaded with senators to consider the difficulties of battling in subzero temperatures and see the war as a classic example of authoritarianism vs. democracy.

The United States Congress is on vacation break for the next two weeks, during which continuing help to Ukraine will almost run out. Unless Congress authorizes further funding, the Biden administration said this would be the last assistance package sent before the new year.

In recent years, Republicans in Congress have shown growing skepticism of American foreign policy engagement, especially concerning assistance to Ukraine. Traditional allies like France and Britain have called on Western countries to maintain their strong backing, while President Vladimir Putin of Russia is becoming bolder and gathering resources for a new offensive as the conflict approaches its third year.

Senate leaders from both parties have painted the $110 billion assistance deal as a watershed moment for democracies everywhere.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has spent months rallying Republican support for Ukraine. However, after the failure of a $6 billion military and civilian assistance package in October, the White House purposefully withheld its involvement in the discussions until senior officials determined it was appropriate.

Along with President Joe Biden, the Senate has been negotiating a border accord, delving into the intricate complexities of border policy and American law. Senate Democratic negotiator Chris Murphy has imposed a deadline on the administration to write legislative measures for a border agreement before the year ends, and a tightrope walk has characterized the talks. Top White House officials and Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas attended the meetings on December 12, five days later than initially scheduled.

Democrats have encountered several problematic points as a result of the White House’s decision to include Republican agenda items, such as assistance to Israel and border security, into the package. Legislators on the left have demanded humanitarian conditions attached to Israeli funding, while Latino Democrats in the House and Senate have voiced their opposition to limits on asylum requests.

House Republican Speaker Mike Johnson’s precarious control of the profoundly split house casts a shadow on the measure.