Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said Tuesday during the first Senate GOP press conference since Hamas attacked Israel that the White House will need to draft a ‘broad’ spending bill for aid to Israel that includes ‘credible’ solutions to the border crisis.
‘There’s a connection between all of this, and I am not surprised, frankly, that the administration seems to be inclined to send up a broad package,’ McConnell said after telling reporters that the attack on Israel is ‘interconnected’ with other attacks by North Korea, Iran, Russia and China.
‘As my colleagues have pointed out, the border part of it needs to be credible,’ the GOP leader said. ‘Not just some reference to it, but credible dealing with the problem.’
Sen. Steve Daines, R-Mont., told reporters that Border Patrol agents have encountered at least one person from Afghanistan, Algeria, Bangladesh, Egypt, Indonesia and Iran, among others, in the last 10 days.
‘This is a national security threat,’ he said.
Sen. Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va., said: ‘I think it’s time for us to look not so much inward, but to look outward because in the end, it’s going to be our own national security. I echo those concerns of our southern border.’
‘It does make you think, Do we really know what’s going on? Who’s coming in? What are they doing?’ she said.
Fox News reported this week that Customs and Border Protection (CBP) has encountered thousands of ‘special interest aliens’ since 2021. Special interest aliens are people from countries identified by the U.S. government as having conditions that promote or protect terrorism or potentially pose some sort of national security threat to the U.S.
Meanwhile, the number of encounters with people on the terror screening data set, known as the watchlist, hit a new record in FY 2023. There were 154 encounters at the northern and southern borders among ports of entry – more than the last six years combined, and 505 encountered at the ports of entry.
Last week, the White House began negotiations with the Senate on what a spending package for Israel aid would look like. According to sources familiar with the talks, the White House wants aid to both Ukraine and Israel, as well for Taiwan, border security and a nonprofit security program to protect houses of worship like synagogues, mosques and churches included in the package.
On Monday, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y, said the upper chamber would ‘move quickly’ on a supplemental package to assist Israeli forces.
Fox News’ Bill Melugin and Adam Shaw contributed to this report.