Senate Approves $95B Aid Bill For Ukraine and Israel

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Senate Approves $95B Aid Bill For Ukraine and Israel

In a dramatic turn of events on Tuesday morning, the U.S. Senate resoundingly passed a $95 billion aid package, overcoming months of delays and a marathon filibuster. The emergency security assistance, earmarked for Ukraine, Israel, and Taiwan, alongside humanitarian aid for Gaza, received a 70-29 vote.

All-Night Filibuster Fails to Derail Vote

Senators Mike Lee (R-Utah) and Rand Paul (R-Ky.) led an all-night filibuster opposing the bill, adding suspense to the proceedings. The prolonged debate stemmed from President Joe Biden’s October plea for increased aid to fortify Ukraine against Russian aggression.

Senate Approves $95B Aid Bill For Ukraine and Israel : Schumer Hails Passage as Historic

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) declared the bill’s passage as “one of the most historic and consequential” events in Senate history. On the floor, Schumer emphasized the pivotal role the U.S. plays in ensuring global freedom and democratic principles.

Senate Approves $95B Aid Bill For Ukraine and Israel :  House Faces Uphill Battle

With the bill moving to the House, House Speaker Mike Johnson raised concerns, stating that a foreign aid bill lacking border security measures would face resistance from House Republicans. The speaker called it “silent on the most pressing issue facing our country.”

Confidence Amidst Opposition

Despite Republican reservations, Schumer expressed confidence that the bill would pass in the House by March 1. He urged Speaker Johnson to “do the right thing” and stressed conversations with House Republicans supporting the bill.

Bipartisanship Meets Resistance

While the aid package garnered bipartisan support, over half of Senate Republicans, including Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), voted against it, citing border security concerns. Cruz emphasized securing America’s border as a prerequisite for supporting aid to allies.

Rejected $118 Billion Version Adds Complexity

The Senate’s rejection of a $118 billion version, with additional asylum system changes and border security provisions, added a layer of complexity. The proposed changes were a response to Republican demands in exchange for Ukraine and Israel funding.

Senate Approves $95B Aid Bill For Ukraine and Israel :  Uncertain Future for Border Bill

The fate of talks on a border bill remains uncertain, with Republicans like Cruz advocating for the adoption of H.R. 2, passed by the House in May. This bill includes resuming border wall construction and restarting the Remain in Mexico program, elements opposed by President Biden.

Democratic Dissent Adds Intrigue

The $95 billion aid package faced opposition not only from Republicans but also from Democrats. Senators Peter Welch (D-Vt.), Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), and Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) voiced dissent, linking aid for Ukraine to concerns over Israel’s actions in Gaza.

Senate Approves $95B Aid Bill For Ukraine and Israel : Democrats Express Concerns

Welch, a staunch supporter of Ukraine, criticized tying aid to Israel’s actions, particularly the “relentless bombing” of Gaza following an attack by Hamas. He called for an extended ceasefire and criticized the humanitarian crisis resulting from the destruction of civilian infrastructure.

Sanders Echoes Concerns

Sanders echoed similar sentiments, opposing the bill due to concerns about Israel’s military actions in Gaza. The dissent from Democrats adds a layer of complexity to the bipartisan support the aid package initially received.