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The Bipartisan Military Aid and Border Security Bill Appears to be Dead. What now ?

Summary:
The Republican Party has demonstrated it’s subservience to Donald Trump and rejection of policy making as such. In a sane country, this would doom the party to a very long period in opposition, but I am a citizen of the country I have not the country I want. I think the issues are well known, but I will attempt a brief review. First, while most Republicans in Congress agree that the US should aid Ukraine, some side with Putin. More importantly, many who agree that Ukraine must be aided also insisted on concessions from Democrats in exchange for that aid (see avoiding default and keeping the federal government open). Democrats caved and accepted a fairly extreme border security/less immigration component of a bipartisan compromise bill. They gave

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The Republican Party has demonstrated it’s subservience to Donald Trump and rejection of policy making as such. In a sane country, this would doom the party to a very long period in opposition, but I am a citizen of the country I have not the country I want. I think the issues are well known, but I will attempt a brief review.

First, while most Republicans in Congress agree that the US should aid Ukraine, some side with Putin. More importantly, many who agree that Ukraine must be aided also insisted on concessions from Democrats in exchange for that aid (see avoiding default and keeping the federal government open). Democrats caved and accepted a fairly extreme border security/less immigration component of a bipartisan compromise bill. They gave the Republicans what the Republicans (unreasonably demanded). Trump noticed that a bipartisan compromise would make Biden look bad and demanded that Republicans vote against the reforms they had demanded. Enough Republicans obeyed that the bill is dead.

I am pleased that the harsh anti-asylum provisions will not become law. I am very mildly pleased that the Republicans have made it very clear to anyone paying any attention at all that they put obedience to Trump above their stated policy goals and above their view of how to help the country. Mildly as people paying any attention at all are not enough — we need a majority. I am very pleased that there is now an opportunity to get aid for Ukraine without making things more difficult for asylum seekers.

The vehicle is the House Republican bill which consists only of aid to Israel. I do not think this is a good bill. Israel is not a poor country and they do not need aid — they can buy the weapons that the bill gives them. However, it will pass the House and go to the Senate where Schumer controls the agenda. Schumer can allow votes on amendments to add aid to Urkaine, Taiwan and Palestine Palestinian refugees. Those amendments will pass even though they will be filibustered. Then the House will have a chance to pass the Senate bill and send it to be signed or to vote it down (politically costly) or to amend and resend or to nominate House representatives to a conference committee (remember them ?).

I think it might be a good idea to include the provisions of the dead bill which increase funding for customs and border patrol etc. They are reasonable given the increased workload and popular.

The bill would not include the provisions which Republicans demanded and now denounce.

I think it can be passed over speaker Johnson’s opposition with a discharge petition. The Republicans have chosen to fight a battle on extremely unfavorable ground, because they refused to take yes for an answer.

Robert Waldmann
Robert J. Waldmann is a Professor of Economics at Univeristy of Rome “Tor Vergata” and received his PhD in Economics from Harvard University. Robert runs his personal blog and is an active contributor to Angrybear.

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