Sen. Merkley: Border Bill failed due to Republicans playing politics


EUGENE, Ore. — Senate Republicans blocked a bill, in the works for weeks, that would combine tens of billions of dollars in aid for Ukraine and Israel together with border security measures.

The agreement fell short of the 60 votes needed, but it may’ve been expected as most republicans had signaled beforehand they would vote against the measure.

Prior to the vote, Oregon Senator Jeff Merkley said republicans requested the border be removed from the bill so it can be used as a campaign issue through November, at the request of former President Donald Trump.

“This is not good, because essentially it’s the senate’s responsibility is to address challenges and not yield to kind of trying to create political, accentuate problems in order for someone’s political campaign,” said Sen. Merkley. “Now, we are expecting the package will come twice to the floor, once on a vote for all four which are the Middle East, Ukraine and the border, and humanitarian aid, and then a second version that drops the border out.”

Sen. Merkley is hopeful the senate can come to an agreement because he says it’s vital the U.S. funds Ukraine as they are running out of ammunition.

This vote comes as the senator is hitting the road for his 2024 Town Hall Tour of Oregon next week.

During last years tour, the top issues included affordable housing, fentanyl, education support and mental health.

“None of those issues have been adequately addressed,” he said, “There’s so much more we need to do on affordable housing, the affordability of drugs, the provision of mental health support. One of the factors on mental health is that we have to train a lot more people. there just isn’t a sufficient pipeline of councilors and therapists, there really is no immediate easy fix.

The Senator says he’s working to bring in more federal funding and continue to work to get hedge funds out of the housing business.