(MENAFN) In a significant development, United States House Speaker Mike Johnson, a Louisiana Republican, has issued an ultimatum to the Biden administration, stating that garnering approval for additional funding for Ukraine in the Republican-majority House of Representatives hinges on securing the United States border with Mexico. Johnson's response comes in the wake of a public letter from Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Director Shalanda Young, who expressed urgency, warning that the United States is running out of time and funds for crucial aid to Ukraine and Israel.
The Speaker emphasized that before additional funding for Ukraine could be considered, the House must first address the issue of border security. He highlighted the House's prior approval of the Israel Security Supplemental Appropriations Act on November 2 but noted that Senate Democrats had voted to block the bill's consideration. Regarding Ukraine, Johnson reiterated the Republican stance, which he initially communicated during a meeting with Young and National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan on October 26. At that meeting, Johnson outlined two prerequisites for further funding: security at the United States border and clear answers regarding the requested funds.
Six days before this ultimatum, President Joe Biden had proposed bundling funding for Israel, Ukraine, Taiwan, and immigration and border enforcement in a USD106 billion package, allocating about USD60 billion to Kiev. However, Johnson's response makes it clear that additional funding for Ukraine is contingent on enacting transformative changes to the nation's border security laws.
Johnson pointed out that the House had passed the Secure the Border Act of 2023 over six months ago, but Senate Democrats have thus far refused to act on it. The linkage between border security and international aid underscores the complex dynamics at play in United States legislative priorities, with Johnson signaling that addressing domestic concerns takes precedence in the deliberations surrounding critical foreign aid packages.
This ultimatum sets the stage for a potential political showdown, with border security becoming a focal point in the broader discussions on international assistance and the challenges faced by the Biden administration in navigating both domestic and foreign policy agendas.
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