U.S. Sen. Tommy Tuberville (R-Auburn) said Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy met with senators during his visit to Washington, D.C., earlier this week to request more funding during his country’s war with Russia. Nevertheless, Tuberville and other Republicans suggest the more pressing concern is the U.S.-Mexico border. 

“We’ve got a crisis right now on our southern border,” the senator explained. “It’s worse than I’ve ever seen. This ought to be our top priority as a country. … No other issue comes close. Over 270 Americans die every day from overdoses related to synthetic opioids like fentanyl. But Democrats and other Republicans are more worried about giving away our weapons and our money to Ukraine. We need to have priorities.” 

Tuberville introduced the Border Safety Security Act as an amendment to the SUPPORT Act, an opioid bill, earlier this year. If it had been successful, Tuberville insisted it would have prevented entry into the United States by illegal aliens and given authority to state attorneys general to bring legal action against the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) if the federal agency failed to secure the border. 

Tuberville said that opioids and mental health are important issues and that border security is necessary to get them under control.

However, Tuberville’s amendment was deemed out of order because it was on a separate topic. 

“So, we’ll need to find some other way to take action,” he explained. “I’m going to keep trying until our border is secure.”

Tuberville also accused the Biden administration of using government resources to take care of illegal aliens and spoke to his new No VA Resources for Illegal Aliens Act.

“The Biden Administration is adding insult to injury right now,” he said. “They’ve opened our border, and they’re even taking care of illegal using resources from the VA. The VA is processing claims for healthcare services rendered for illegal aliens receiving care from VA community care doctors. This is an absolute slap in the face to our veterans and our taxpayers.”

“The community care network was established to ensure veterans had timely access to care, whether in their community or at the VA,” he continued. “Our veterans earned their healthcare in the uniform of the United States. Illegals haven’t earned a dime of taxpayer money. They shouldn’t even be here. The VA is essentially stealing for our veterans to give to illegal people breaking our laws.”

According to Tuberville, the bill already has support from  U.S. Rep. Mike Bost (R-Ill.), who chairs the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs. 

Republicans in the Senate blocked a procedural vote last week to answer Biden’s call to approve aid to Ukraine. Since war broke out between Ukraine and Russia in 2022, the United States has given over $75 billion in assistance, including humanitarian aid to military support. 

Republican senators have offered support for the measure in exchange for cooperation to address issues at the border. Biden indicated he was prepared to make “significant compromises” on his border policy if he could send more money to Ukraine.

“It’s not that I’m not for [Ukraine],” Tuberville explained his position on the conflict. “It’s just that I understand the situation. I’ve been over there a couple of times. They have no chance. They’re fighting against a bigger, better, stronger military. The only chance they’ve got for winning a conflict against Russia is for us to get involved with our men and women, which we are totally 110% against fighting another war.”

Tuberville said he believes Republicans have finally gained leverage over Democrats by using the calls for more Ukraine funding to win concessions for potential changes in border policy.

“We’re not going to do anything to Ukraine with any more funding unless they do something at the border to stop and try to help the American people because we’re under attack ourselves,” he insisted. “Our borders are under attack every day, and until we get control of that, I don’t think we should be helping people with their borders halfway around the world.”

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