Foreign aid, border combo deal still floating in House

WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR) – A group of House Democrats and Republicans have not given up on a bill that would link foreign military aid to tougher migrant policies at the southern border.

“Ukraine is an ally, Israel is an ally, Taiwan’s an ally and we have problems on our own southern border,” Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick (R-Penn.) said.

Fitzpatrick is leading the effort that he believes could unite a divided Congress.

“This is not a transportation bill, this is not the naming of a post office. This is literally U.S domestic security and world peace on the line here,” Fitzpatrick said.

The bill would provide more than $66 billion for Ukraine and Israel, and it would reinstate the Trump era “remain in Mexico” policy, as well as provide the authority for the border patrol to expel some illegal migrants. Rep. Jim Costa (D-Calif.) is a cosponsor of the bill.

“But we still have the opportunity to make a difference and the world is watching,” Costa said.

The lawmakers hope House Speaker Mike Johnson’s office will agree to get the package to the floor. But they say they think they have the support to force a vote on the bill, with what’s called a “discharge petition”.  It takes 218 signatures.

“The alternative can’t be that Ukraine fails and our border remains open. We can’t allow that to happen,” Fitzpatrick said.

However, House Democratic Leader Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.) says the bill, as it is, lacks humanitarian aid for Gaza, and the migrants at the southern border.

“That’s a non-starter for the house democratic caucus,” Jeffries said.

Fitzpatrick acknowledges the bill is bare bones and Democrats could try to add whatever provisions they need to get the job done.

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