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US Senate’s Border, Ukraine Aid Deal on Path for Vote Next Week

(Bloomberg) -- Senate negotiators are closing in on a US migration and Ukraine aid deal and plan to release it as soon as Friday, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer announced.

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Schumer said the long-simmering deal would be made available to the public no later than Sunday and that the Senate would hold the first procedural votes on the measure no later than Feb. 7.

“Some issues still need resolution, but we are getting very close,” Schumer said Thursday on the Senate floor.

It remains unclear if the emerging compromise can pass the Senate and its prospects are worse in the GOP-controlled House in the wake of opposition from former president Donald Trump.

But the new deadlines are the first concrete sign of a Ukraine and border deal after months of talks. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell urged Schumer to set a deadline to force the final compromise to come together.

Negotiators are putting the finishing touches on a bill that would grant the president new powers to expedite the deportation of undocumented migrants. The deal would also tighten the criteria for applying for asylum in the US and increase funding for border security personnel.

One of the final hurdles, lawmakers say, is figuring out the cost of the new border policies, which will entail new facilities and personnel to detain and process migrants more quickly.

Republicans have demanded border policy changes as the price for agreeing to $61 billion in aid to Ukraine that President Joe Biden requested last year.

“There’s a lot of good conservative border policy in it, but it’s obviously become a target and in the end you want to make law. The challenge of course is getting it though the House too,” number two Republican John Thune of South Dakota told reporters.

Republicans, Thune said, would evaluate the text of the bill over the weekend and then decide whether to agree to advance the bill in the Senate next week.

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