Senate to vote on Plan B: Ukraine funding without border security  

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) plans to strip the bipartisan border security deal from the emergency defense spending bill, and bring a package funding the war in Ukraine, Israel, the Indo-Pacific region and humanitarian assistance to Ukraine and Gaza to the Senate floor Wednesday.

Senators expect the legislation to pass without the border security reforms that were unveiled Sunday and resoundingly rejected by most Senate Republicans.

Schumer still plans to hold a procedural vote on proceeding to the Ukraine and Israel funding package that includes border security reforms. That way, he can give vulnerable Democratic colleagues a chance to vote for it and argue on the campaign trail that they tried to address the crisis at the border.

But Republicans are expected to block that package — and then, Schumer said he will move to Plan B.

“Schumer has told Senate Dems he is planning to put the negotiated supplemental on the floor without the border security piece after the expected failed cloture vote Wednesday,” a Senate Democratic aide said.

“Schumer told members of his caucus and the White House last week that if the Republicans scuttled the bipartisan border and supplemental agreement, he had prepared a plan to use the motion to reconsider to force Republicans to vote on the supplemental without border [reforms,]” the aide added.

The motion to reconsider would allow Schumer to immediately require senators to vote a second time on a legislative vehicle to move funding for Ukraine, Israel and the Indo-Pacific.

The first time senators will vote on ending debate to move to the legislative vehicle, it will be with the understanding that the Ukraine funding package would include border security reforms.

Most Republicans will vote to block that bill from moving forward.

Then, Schumer will hold a second vote on proceeding to the same legislative vehicle, but this time with the understanding it will be used to carry funding for Ukraine, Israel and other foreign assistance priorities but without the negotiated border security reforms.

Enough Republicans are expected to vote to move this bill. It needs 60 votes to advance.

Schumer told members of his caucus and the White House last week that if the Republicans scuttled the bipartisan border and supplemental agreement, he had prepared a plan to use the motion to reconsider to force Republicans to vote on the supplemental without border.

This means Republicans could potentially vote to block the supplemental twice in one day — an embarrassing prospect.

Schumer set up this maneuver last week by saying he would file cloture Monday for the vehicle instead of using the motion to reconsider from December, giving him multiple options to move forward.

If the carefully orchestrated plan goes awry, then Senate Republicans could potentially vote twice in one day to block the defense supplemental, which the Democratic aide called “an embarrassing prospect.”

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