Latest News 24-04-2024 00:02 5 Views

Senate advances $95B Ukraine and Israel aid package, setting stage for expedited vote

The Senate successfully advanced a $95 billion foreign aid package, which includes assistance for both Israel and Ukraine, on Tuesday by passing a motion to invoke cloture and end debate on the measures early. 

The upper chamber cleared the procedural hurdle by a vote of 81 to 19 after the House passed the bills on Saturday, and Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., promised to move quickly to get the package across the finish line. 

Included in the package of bills is aid for Ukraine, Israel and Taiwan, as well as a measure requiring TikTok to divest from Chinese-owned ByteDance, and the REPO Act, which would allow $5 billion in Russian assets held in U.S. banks to be transferred to Ukraine.

Schumer pleaded with fellow senators in remarks on the Senate floor ahead of the vote, telling them, 'Let us not delay this. Let us not prolong this. Let us not keep our friends around the world waiting for a moment longer.'

'Today, the Senate faces a test,' Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said in his own floor remarks prior to the vote. 'And we must not fail it.'

He further called passage of the supplemental foreign aid bills 'overdue.' President Biden first made his request for additional aid to U.S. allies in October 2023. 

The Senate initially passed a foreign aid package to Ukraine, Israel, and Taiwan in February, but House Speaker Mike Johnson, R-La., did not move quickly to bring the measure to the House floor for a vote. And when Johnson ultimately brought aid for a vote in the lower chamber, it was a different version, prompting the bills to be sent back to the Senate before they can head to Biden for a signature. 

The initial package had passed the Senate with overwhelming support, by a vote of 70 to 29. 

The package faces some pushback from senators on both sides of the aisle. Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, for example, is against the continued aid to Ukraine, citing the amount of aid already given to the country, as well as the potential of humanitarian aid getting into the hands of Hamas terrorists. Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., also has reservations over the package due to the continued aid to Israel. He has previously criticized Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the high civilian death toll in Gaza.  

However, the opposition from these senators and others doesn't appear to be widespread enough to threaten the bills' passage.


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