Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) announced Thursday that Senate negotiators will unveil the long-awaited text of a bill funding the war in Ukraine and addressing border security this weekend, and senators will come back to the Capitol early next week to consider the legislation.
Schumer said he expects to schedule the first vote on proceeding to the controversial package for Wednesday, giving senators a chance to pass it before the two-week Presidents Day recess.
“I want members to be aware that we plan to post the full text of the national security supplemental as early as tomorrow, no later than Sunday,” Schumer announced. “That will give members plenty of time to read the bill before voting on it.”
Schumer added he will start the Senate’s procedural gears running Monday so that senators can vote on the motion to proceed to the bill by midweek.
“As for the timing of the vote, I plan to file cloture on the motion to proceed to the vehicle by Monday, leading to the first vote on the national security supplemental no later than Wednesday,” he said.
Schumer made an impassioned plea to Republican colleagues to vote for the bill, declaring it “so important to enabling us to address multiple crises around the globe.”
He cited Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Israel’s military campaign to defeat Hamas in Gaza, the threat posed by China in the Indo-Pacific and the huge influx of migrants across the southern border.
“Addressing these challenges is not easy, but we cannot simply shirk from our responsibilities just because a task is difficult,” he argued.
Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), the lead Democratic negotiator, said it’s time for the legislation to come to the floor after four months of negotiation.
“We have a bipartisan deal to address the crisis at the border. It should be no surprise that Donald Trump opposes the agreement — he wants chaos at the border because it helps him politically. It’s time to bring this deal to the floor,” Murphy wrote on X, the platform formerly known as Twitter.
Senate Republican Whip John Thune (S.D.) said Thursday that he expected the bill’s text to be made public by the end of Friday, a projection that Senate Appropriations Committee Vice Chair Susan Collins (R-Maine) also floated to reporters.
Sen. James Lankford (R-Okla.), the lead Republican negotiator, said that timeline should give colleagues enough time to study the border security deal, which would require President Biden to deport migrants without going through the asylum process once the number of daily crossings exceeds 5,000.
But he said that colleagues with smaller staffs might need more time.
“It depends on the level of staffing that they have. Do they have people that are knowledgeable on these issues? If they do, they can read through it pretty quickly,” he said.
But Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) said giving senators less than a week to study the bill before voting on it would be “unacceptable.”
“They’ve had months to write it — in complete secrecy, no less,” he wrote on X. “A few days won’t be nearly enough to read, debate, and amend this thing.”
Lee has proposed giving senators at least three weeks to study the legislation, arguing that immigration law is extremely complex and that it took the Judiciary Committee a month to mark up comprehensive immigration legislation in 2013.
Al Weaver contributed.