US Senate Set for Final Foreign Aid Bill Vote

The U.S. Senate will vote Monday night to advance a $95 billion aid package for Ukraine, Israel and Taiwan, setting up a potential final vote for expected passage later this week.

“These are the enormously high stakes of the supplemental package: our security, our values, our democracy. It is a down payment for the survival of Western democracy and the survival of American values,” Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said on the Senate floor Monday.

“The entire world is going to remember what the Senate does in the next few days. Nothing — nothing — would make [Russian President Vladimir] Putin happier right now than to see Congress waver in its support for Ukraine. Nothing would help him more on the battlefield,” Schumer said.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., arrives at the Capitol in Washington, Feb. 11, 2024.


Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., arrives at the Capitol in Washington, Feb. 11, 2024.

The bill includes $61 billion for Ukraine, $14 billion for Israel, nearly $5 billion to support partners in the Indo-Pacific, including Taiwan, and other assistance.

Republicans have generally supported more aid for Israel’s war against Hamas militants, although many U.S. lawmakers, especially progressive Democrats, have vocally condemned Israel for the extent of its counteroffensive that Palestinian health officials say has killed more than 28,000 people in Gaza after the Hamas terror attack in October killed 1,200 in Israel.

But some right-wing Republican lawmakers, many of them aligned with former President Donald Trump, have voiced increasing opposition to sending more aid to Ukraine for its two-year fight against the Russian invasion, imperiling approval of the assistance even though most Democratic lawmakers are in favor, as is Democratic President Joe Biden.

Those Republicans argue additional aid should not be sent to Ukraine unless the U.S. Congress approves more funding for domestic border security.

“We have already given Ukraine more than $120 billion. This is more than enough money to secure every border in our country, unfortunately, but predictably, the $120 billion we’ve sent Ukraine has resulted in a yearslong stalemate that has cost hundreds of thousands of lives, both Ukrainian and Russian,” Republican Senator Tommy Tuberville said on the Senate floor Monday.

U.S. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., walks to the Senate floor before the vote to begin work on a bill that includes aid for Ukraine, Israel and Taiwan, at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, Feb. 9, 2024.


U.S. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., walks to the Senate floor before the vote to begin work on a bill that includes aid for Ukraine, Israel and Taiwan, at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, Feb. 9, 2024.

But 18 Senate Republicans joined with Democrats Sunday for a key procedural vote advancing the foreign aid package. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, a leading supporter of aid to Ukraine, said Sunday, “American leadership matters, and it is in question.”

Before the vote, Trump criticized sending additional aid to Ukraine, writing on social media, “The United States of America should be ‘stupid’ no longer!”

Senate Republicans last week blocked advancing a measure that included the foreign assistance along with provisions to tighten restrictions at the U.S.-Mexico border to try to curb the flow of thousands of migrants from crossing into the United States each day. Trump opposed the border measure as not tough enough and Republican lawmakers followed his lead on the issue.

The Republican senators could still try to include some tough migration controls in the aid package although it is not certain whether they can reach agreement with Democratic lawmakers.

If the Senate approves the legislation, its fate is uncertain in the House of Representatives, where Republican opposition to further Ukraine assistance appears even more pronounced.

“The failure of the United States Congress, if it occurs, not to support Ukraine, is close to criminal neglect,” Biden said last week. “It is outrageous.”

The Pentagon sent the last approved round of aid to Ukraine on Dec. 27, 2023.

Voice of America

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