After weeks of setbacks and delays, the U.S. Senate on Tuesday gave final approval to a $95 billion war aid package for Ukraine, Israel and other U.S. allies early Tuesday morning, sending the bill in the Republican-controlled House where its fate is uncertain.
In a pre-dawn vote, the Senate passed the measure 70-29, easily clearing the 60-vote threshold needed to pass most legislation in the House. Nearly all Democrats and 22 Republicans approved the bill, which exposed deep divisions within the Republican Party over America's responsibility to its allies and its role on the world stage.
The measure includes $60 billion in funding for Ukraine, where soldiers are running low on ammunition as the country seeks to push back Russian troops nearly two years after the invasion. Much of that money would be used to support Ukrainian military operations and replenish the U.S. supply of weapons and equipment sent to the front lines. An additional $14 billion would be used to support Israeli and US military operations in the region. More than $8 billion would be earmarked to support U.S. partners in the Indo-Pacific region, including Taiwan, as part of their efforts to deter China's aggression.
It also allocates nearly $10 billion to humanitarian efforts in Ukraine, Israel and Gaza, where nearly a quarter of residents are starving and large swaths of the territory have been ravaged.
Joe Biden has for months urged Congress to speed up aid to Ukraine, where military leaders have warned their soldiers are running low on ammunition as they battle Russia on the front lines nearly two years after the 'invasion.
We cannot afford to wait any longer. The costs of inaction are growing every day, including in Ukraine, Biden said in a statement, applauding the bipartisan coalition of senators who approved the bill. It’s time for the House to act and send this bipartisan legislation to my desk immediately so I can sign it.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, a New York Democrat, hailed the passage of the aid package as a clear message to allies and foes that American leadership will not waver, will not falter, will not. will not fail.
Today, the Senate ensured that the United States is closer to experiencing the monumental and consequential moment we find ourselves in, Schumer said at a press conference Tuesday morning. Now it's up to the House to come together in this moment, do the right thing, and save democracy as we know it.
But hours earlier, Mike Johnson, the Republican House Speaker, had effectively rejected the aid package because it lacked provisions on border control, saying it remained silent on the most pressing problem that our country was facing.
The mandate of the additional national security legislation was to secure the U.S. border before sending additional foreign aid around the world, he said, adding: Absent a single border policy change from On the part of the Senate, the House will have to continue to work. his own will on these important issues. America deserves better than the Senate status quo.
Johnson, under pressure from Donald Trump and his right flank, rejected an earlier version of the measure that included a bipartisan immigration deal intended to crack down on illegal crossings at the U.S.-Mexico border.
Since last year, conservatives have insisted that the foreign aid program must be linked to border security measures aimed at curbing record levels of migration to the U.S.-Mexico border. A trio of senators negotiated for months, finally crafting a bipartisan proposal that many conservative commentators hailed as the toughest border crackdown in decades.
But with immigration poised to play a crucial role in November's election, Trump, almost certain to be the Republican nominee, has been reluctant to offer anything resembling a political victory for the president. Border security is a priority for many Americans, the overwhelming majority of whom disapprove of Biden's handling of the issue.
Trump raged against the border deal and his allies on Capitol Hill lined up against him, sealing his fate as the latest casualty in a long series of failed attempts by Congress to overhaul the nation's troubled immigration system .
After Senate Republicans blocked a version of the bill last week that included border security, Schumer scrapped it and moved forward with a narrowly tailored foreign aid package.
Republicans demanded that we tie the fate of the free world to border security and asylum reform, said Sen. Chris Murphy, a Connecticut Democrat who negotiated the bipartisan border deal. He accused Republicans of backing down on the deal because Trump believes the chaos at the border is good for his campaign.
He implored the House to act, adding: The stakes could not be higher.
Senator Mitch McConnell, Republican of Kentucky and minority leader, defended the bill despite widespread hostility to the measure within his conference, stoked by Trump's opposition.
History settles all accounts, he said in a statement. And today, when it comes to the value of American leadership and strength, history will record that the Senate did not blink.
Volodymyr Zelenskiy, Ukraine's president, celebrated the bill's passage in an article on X, writing that continued U.S. aid helps save lives from Russian terrorism. This means that life will continue in our cities and will triumph over war.
The Senate voted after an all-night session in which a coterie of Republican opponents launched a filibuster and marathon speeches to delay its passage.
If we are invaded, a real invasion crosses our border, Senator Rand Paul, Republican of Kentucky, said in a speech Monday. And all they had time to do in the Senate was collect the money, collect the pallets of cash, load the planes, make the champagne and fly to kyiv.
Paul voted last week against the bill that included border control policies.
Other Republican opponents included Sen. Lindsey Graham, once one of the House's most prominent hawks and an outspoken critic of the Kremlin. But on Monday night, the critic-turned-Trump loyalist echoed the former president and demanded that foreign aid be provided in the form of a loan.
In a statement, he reiterated his support for Ukraine but said he hoped the House would turn the aid into a loan rather than a grant.
Until that day, I will vote no, he wrote.
A handful of left-wing senators also opposed the legislation over their objections to the inclusion of billions of dollars in offensive military aid to Israel as the Palestinian death toll from the Gaza war approaches 30 000.
I cannot vote to send more bombs and shells to Israel while they use them indiscriminately against Palestinian civilians, Senator Jeff Merkley, Democrat of Oregon, said in a statement Monday evening. He was joined by Vermont's two senators, Democrat Peter Welch and independent Bernie Sanders, who had previously sought to condition aid to Israel on whether its government violated human rights and international agreements in Gaza.
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