A secret Senate briefing on Ukraine has turned into a shouting match over US border security. The dispute arose over whether to include tougher immigration policies in the aid package for Kyiv.
The meeting came after Republican senators warned they were prepared to vote against a $106 billion aid package for Israel and Ukraine unless it included major changes to border policy.
Republican senators called the briefing a waste of time because they argued the speakers did not discuss information that was not already known or publicly available. Some Republicans even left early.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer gave his account of what was happening and said the fight over the border issue erupted when Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., asked Republican Sen. James Lankford of Oklahoma to talk about the border instead of asking the question about Ukraine. .
“He called on Lankford to give a five-minute talk on the border negotiations instead of asking our panelists,” Schumer said. “Then when I mentioned that they might make an amendment and be able to do something on the border, They were stuck…they didn’t like it.”
Schumer added: “One of them even became disrespectful and started yelling at one of the generals and asking him questions about why they weren’t discussing the border.”
A CNN source said it was Arkansas Republican Senator Tom Cotton who shouted. Asked if he was among those shouting, Cotton said: “I didn’t let Chuck Schumer get away with the lie that Republicans were interfering border security into the debate about a supplementary bill.”
Cotton also said the speakers “refused to answer any questions about the crisis at the border or what we can do to address this crisis.”
Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina said there was tension in the chamber from the start because “nobody was talking about the border.”
Cancellation of Zelensky’s speech
US President Joe Biden has asked Congress for $106 billion in aid to Ukraine, Israel and Taiwan. Of this amount, $61.3 billion was proposed to be allocated to Ukraine, and $14.3 billion to Israel.
This package is currently being considered in Congress. However, Republicans are demanding that the aid be tied to an overhaul of US immigration and border policies.
On December 5, President Vladimir Zelensky canceled his speech at a secret briefing in the US Senate at the last minute.
Ukrainian Defense Minister Rustem Umerov said that Zelensky canceled his speech because there is a war in Ukraine and the situation is constantly changing.
Source : RBC