Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, is among the voices of GOP lawmakers who want the Biden administration’s emergency supplemental package split up into individual policies.
The White House sent Congress a request Friday morning lumping aid to Israel, Gaza, Ukraine and the southern border together.
The total amount requested is roughly $105 billion. It includes $61.4 billion for Ukraine; $14.3 billion for Israel (with $10.6 billion allocated for military aid); $13.6 billion for border protection, including measures to combat the flow of fentanyl; and significant investments in Indo-Pacific security assistance, totaling around $7.4 billion. Additionally, there’s $9 billion earmarked for humanitarian aid in Ukraine, Israel and Gaza.
‘The border funding that is included is all designed to accelerate the processing of illegal immigration,’ Cruz told Fox News in an interview Friday. ‘In other words, it’s not designed to stop the crisis at our southern border. It’s designed to make it worse.’
The request outlines investment in 1,300 more border security agents to stop the flow of fentanyl, as well as 1,600 more asylum officers to speed up asylum processing and funds for ‘cutting-edge’ detection technology at the southwest border and ‘investigative capabilities to prevent cartels from trafficking fentanyl into the United States.’
But Cruz — a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee — said throwing more money at the border won’t solve the problem, ‘but rather policy changes.’
‘And in particular, the only way to stop the crisis is to end catch and release and to reinstate the Remain in Mexico agreement,’ he said, also known as Title 42.
Title 42 — a COVID-19 era emergency order that allowed the government to expel migrants faster — was rescinded in May.
And while lawmakers in both chambers are in support of aid to Israel’s military, they are deeply divided on aid to Ukraine in its defense against Russia since the invasion began in February 2022.
‘When it comes to Ukraine, there is significant disagreement within Congress on Ukraine funding,’ Cruz said. ‘The Biden administration wants no congressional scrutiny concerning their funding for Ukraine, they don’t want any examination into money they’re sending that is being wasted, is subject to corruption — they want no oversight on that front.’
But before any spending package to move forward, the House will have to vote in a new speaker to replace recently-ousted Rep. Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif. Funding the government for the next fiscal year is essentially frozen without a speaker, and the clock is ticking as the deadline, Nov. 17, quickly approaches.
Aid to Ukraine and the southern border are likely to be sticking points that could drag the process out and potentially cause a government shutdown if lawmakers don’t agree on a package by the cutoff. The current temporary spending patch — known as a continuing resolution (CR) — does not include any additional aid to Ukraine or the border.
Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, one of the leading candidates until Friday, failed to gain enough votes to become speaker after three attempts. Cruz previously threw in his support for him, while he called the House’s debacle ‘chaotic.’
‘I’ve been in the Senate 11 years and for 11 years, I have consistently stayed out of House leadership elections,’ Cruz said. ‘For the first time I made an exception to that policy. Because Jim Jordan called and asked me for my support. Jim is a close friend.’
‘I think the House is going to work it out,’ he continued. ‘We’re going to have a speaker of the House. I don’t know the exact timing there right now.’