Senate Set to Consider $118 Billion National Security & Border Package

The Senate is set this week to consider the National Security and Supplemental Appropriations Act that combines aid to Ukraine and Israel with border security and immigration measures. Based on the details, the bill would provide $118.3 billion of emergency appropriations. However, without a full score from the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), it is unclear how much the appropriations combined with immigration policy measures would cost or save over a decade. Importantly, none of the stated costs include offsets, meaning the entirety of the bill's over $118 billion cost would be added to deficits over the next decade.

Most of the bill's costs, $98.1 billion, comes from emergency funding for national security purposes. This funding includes over $60 billion of military aid to Ukraine, more than $14 billion of military aid for Israel, $2.4 billion for other U.S. operations responding to activity in the Red Sea, and $7.8 billion for the Indo-Pacific region and submarine capacity building. An additional $10 billion of funding would be for humanitarian assistance to Ukraine, Israel, and Gaza, and $2.3 billion would be for refugee assistance for Ukrainians and others fleeing conflicts. 

What's in the Emergency National Security Supplemental Appropriations Act? 

Policy Ten-Year Cost / Savings (-)
Ukraine military aid  $60.1 billion
Israel military aid  $14.1 billion
Humanitarian aid to Ukraine, Israel, and Gaza  $10.0 billion
Funding for Indo-Pacific region and submarine capacity building $7.8 billion
Funding to address conflict in the Red Sea $2.4 billion
Aid to Ukrainian and other refugees $2.3 billion
Other funding $1.2 billion
Border Security and Combating Fentanyl $20.2 billion
Subtotal $118.3 billion
Bipartisan Immigration Provisions  unclear
Total unknown

Sources: Senate Appropriations Committee and Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget. Numbers may not sum due to rounding. 

The package includes $20.2 billion of supplemental appropriations related to immigration and border security. The largest costs include $6.8 billion for Customs and Border Protection to hire additional officers and border patrol agents and $7.6 billion for Immigration and Customs Enforcement personnel and capacity enhancement. 

Alongside the supplemental appropriations is the inclusion of the bipartisan Border Act of 2024. The bill would make several changes to the U.S. immigration system – particularly at times when border crossings are as high as they have been from the end of 2023 to now – by expediting the hiring processes for border patrol and immigration enforcement, speeding up claims processing of asylum seekers, putting in place emergency border enhancement authority, and increasing work eligibility for certain immigrants, among other changes. Because the bill is aimed at reducing illegal immigration while increasing work-eligible immigration, the bill could have a significant net fiscal cost or savings; CBO has not estimated the budgetary impact of these provisions. 

With the national debt approaching record levels and set to grow unsustainably over the long term, policymakers should make an effort to pay for this cost and prevent further increases to the national debt.