Senate passes $95B aid package for Ukraine, Israel and Taiwan despite Trump attacks

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The Senate approved $95 billion in aid to Ukraine, Israel and Taiwan aid by a 70-29 vote early on Tuesday morning, sending the bill to an uncertain fate in the House, where Speaker Mike Johnson is giving the legislation a frosty reception.

Despite a last-ditch effort from conservative opponents of the bill, Johnson‘s cold water and former President Donald Trump’s attempts to kill the legislation, Republican support for the deal actually grew overnight, with 22 GOP senators voting in favor of the package — a kind of rejection of those in the party, like Trump, who argued any aid should be structured as a loan.

“With the strong bipartisan support we have here in the Senate, with this vote, I believe that if Speaker Johnson brought this bill to the House floor, it will pass with the same strong bipartisan support,” said Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer.

Democratic-aligned defectors also grew overnight, with Sens. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) and Peter Welch (D-Vt.) all voting against the bill. But the vast majority of the caucus stuck together on the bill after last week’s failed border security votes.

Welch — the latest to turn against the package — spoke on the floor after the vote and pinned his opposition on concerns over Israel aid.

“The inescapable conclusion is that the Netanyahu government is not listening,” Welch said. “It’s difficult not to conclude that [Netanyahu’s] enemy is not only Hamas, but the Palestinians.”

The vote came after a weekend of delays and an all-nighter of floor speeches between Monday and Tuesday. Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) managed to delay final passage by opposing a time agreement on the bill, which would have advanced it much more quickly.

After voting and leaving town, senators will now return on Feb. 26, with just days to spare before the first government funding deadline. In the meantime, Johnson will have a major decision to make.

Though he first requested a bipartisan border security component to any foreign aid bill, he ended up working to kill the Senate’s negotiated product last week. On Monday, he said: “in the absence of having received any single border policy change from the Senate, the House will have to continue to work its own will on these important matters.”

Soon after the package cleared the Senate, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said he was “grateful” for Schumer and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, along with the other senators who “supported continued assistance to Ukraine.”

“For us in Ukraine, continued US assistance helps to save human lives from Russian terror,” Zelenskyy
said in a post on X
. “It means that life will continue in our cities and will triumph over war.”

This post was originally published on Politico

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