Senate advances Ukraine and Israel aid after GOP blocked larger border bill
The aid package’s chances of passing Congress are still uncertain. Senate votes will be required, and House Republicans are not committed to vote on the package themselves.
The Senate voted on Thursday afternoon to move forward with a bill stripped down that would provide assistance to Israel, Ukraine, and Taiwan. This comes one day after Republicans rejected a bipartisan bill for border security and international aid.
The Senate’s vote of 67 to 32 means that it can now begin considering the $95 billion package. However, the next steps remain uncertain and the final votes required for passage are not yet known.
This is a positive first step. After the vote, Senate Majority leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) said that this bill was essential for the national security of the United States. Failure to pass this legislation would embolden autocrats such as Putin and Xi who are only interested in the decline of America. We hope that now that we have the bill in our hands, we can reach an agreement with our Republican counterparts on amendments.
He said that the Senate will continue to work “until it is finished.”
Senate Republicans are divided over whether to pass the bill or filibuster. They met in the morning to discuss their options, including possible amendments.
Kevin Cramer (R-ND) said, “I believe we should do everything we can to ensure that the right amendments are voted on.”
Sen. Mike Rounds (R-S.D.), who voted for the bill to be passed after voting against it on Wednesday, stated that Republicans had discussed adding border amendments to the deal. “But clearly on our side, there are a lot people who feel that the ex president’s remarks meant that he didn’t really want to see anything like that at this point.” This has been a major factor in our decision.
Some senators suggested that the chamber might stay through the weekend in order to complete it. Rand Paul, R.-Ky. has pledged to stop the Senate from speeding the process. This would require the unanimous consent of all 100 senators.
Thom Tillis (R-N.C.) said, “You have to bring this to a close and we, as a conference, will be responsible for the result if we decide to stop it.” “I believe Schumer is right to keep us in this room until we have a solution. They say that we should cool down or take a couple of weeks off. I don’t understand.
This could be the final chance for a long time to approve aid for Ukraine. It is a top priority of President Joe Biden, and it has the support of many members in Congress. However, there are a significant number who oppose the idea.
The prospects for the GOP-controlled House are also uncertain if the bill passes through the Democratic-led Senate. Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.) did not say on Wednesday if he would allow for a vote in the House, stating, “We’ll wait and see what happens in the Senate.”
Senators prefer to finish the aid package prior to a scheduled two-week break that begins next week. The next priority for Congress will be the government funding deadline, which is scheduled to occur in early March.
In a vote of 49-50, the Senate rejected the border bill on Wednesday afternoon. Only four Republican senators voted in favor. Republicans filibustered their agreement, saying that it would not be enough to combat the record number of migrants crossing the southern border. They had originally called for border provisions within the bill. Schumer tried to push forward with an Israel and Ukraine-only aid package without border provisions.
Schumer, before adjourning Wednesday evening the Senate, said: “We’ll adjourn until tomorrow to give our Republican colleagues time to think things through.” We will return tomorrow at noon, and we hope that this will give the Republicans enough time to prepare. This vote will be held tomorrow.
A Senate Democratic aide stated that the reduced package would include provisions to target fentanyl trafficking in addition to foreign assistance.
Three sources said that the Senate Republicans were skeptical of the new foreign aid legislation during a Wednesday lunch.
Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) predicted Thursday that the procedural vote for an aid bill will pass without any clarity as to what happens next.
He said, “Then it’s a midnight ride to nowhere.”