Hindustan Times (Jammu)

Biden blames Trump for sinking immigratio­n and Ukraine aid bill

- Letters@hindustant­imes.com

President Joe Biden blamed Donald Trump for sinking a bipartisan immigratio­n and Ukraine aid bill, saying the Republican frontrunne­r pressured members of his party to reject it in order to gain an advantage in the November election.

Biden acknowledg­ed the Senate package was all but dead — a move that could jeopardise the US effort to provide more weapons and support to Ukraine in its war to repel Russia’s invasion.

“All indication­s are this bill won’t even move forward to the Senate floor. Why? A simple reason. Donald Trump,” Biden said on Tuesday from the White House.

Less than an hour after Biden spoke, Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell, who supported the Ukraine-border deal, conceded it “will not become law,” citing House Speaker Mike Johnson’s opposition.

McConnell endorsed moving forward with emergency funding for Ukraine, Israel and Taiwan and said Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer would have to decide how to repackage the deal.

Biden sought to cast responsibi­lity for the failure to secure an agreement on the border — an issue which polls show is a major political liability for his re-election hopes — on congressio­nal Republican­s and Trump. He warned that if Republican­s do not approve the package he would use it to hammer Trump on the campaign trail.

“Every day between now and November, the American people are going to know that the only reason the border is not secure is Donald Trump and his MAGA Republican friends,” Biden said.

Biden said that the failure to resolve the impasse on the border has put Ukraine in “dire straits”. The president tied the two issues together in an October funding request after Republican­s said they would not approve aid for Ukraine without stricter immigratio­n enforcemen­t policies.

The deadlock has left Kyiv without enough weapons and ammunition to drive Russian forces off its territory, with fighting expected to intensify in the spring.

“History is watching. Failure to support Ukraine at this critical moment will never be forgotten,” Biden said.

Chile’s former president Sebastian Pinera, a billionair­e tycoon who twice held the South American nation’s top job, died on Tuesday in a helicopter crash, his office said in a statement.

The 74-year-old Pinera often flew himself around in his own helicopter, and was a former shareholde­r in the country’s national airline, with stakes in television and football, among other businesses.

The crash took place in Lago Ranco, a lake district some 920 kilometres south of Santiago, where Pinera spent vacations with his children and grandchild­ren.

“It is with deep regret that we announce the death of the former president of the Republic of Chile,” his office said in a statement.

Three other people who had been in the helicopter survived the crash.

Leftist President Gabriel Boric, who succeeded Pinera in 2022, declared three days of mourning and a state funeral on Friday, characteri­sing Pinera as having “genuinely sought what he believed was best for the county”.

Former and current Latin

American leaders offered their tributes, including Peruvian President Dina Boluarte and former Bolivian presidents Evo Morales and Jeanine Anez.

“Peace to his soul,” Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro wrote on X, adding that his country joins Chileans in mourning their former president.

Colombia’s foreign ministry sent its “sincere condolence­s” to the Chilean people in a statement rememberin­g the Pinera government’s support in Bogota’s peace negotiatio­ns with the FARC guerrilla group.

Brazil’s President Luiz Inacio

Lula da Silva wrote on X that he was “surprised and saddened” by Pinera’s death.

Outside his party’s headquarte­rs and at his house in the Las Condes commune near Santiago, dozens of admirers left flowers and messages, and lit candles.

Pinera served two non-consecutiv­e terms in office, between 2010 and 2014 and again from 2018 to 2022.

At the time of his death, Forbes magazine estimated his net worth at $2.4 billion.

Pinera was married with four children and nine grandchild­ren.

 ?? REUTERS ?? Supporters of former president Sebastian Pinera gather to mourn his death in Santiago, Chile, on Tuesday.
REUTERS Supporters of former president Sebastian Pinera gather to mourn his death in Santiago, Chile, on Tuesday.

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