The Senate Passes $95.3 Billion Foreign Aid Bill
The Senate passed a $95.3 billion foreign aid bill with assistance for Ukraine and Israel in a vote early Tuesday morning, setting up a showdown with the House as Speaker Mike Johnson has criticized the legislation.
Support for Ukraine and Israel
The foreign aid package includes billions of dollars to support Ukraine and for security assistance for Israel, as well as humanitarian assistance for civilians in Gaza, the West Bank, and Ukraine, among other priorities.
It’s unclear whether Johnson would hold a vote on it, and many House Republicans are opposed to further aid to Ukraine.
Opposition from Johnson and Trump
The bill passed the Senate despite Johnson’s criticism of the legislation and former President Donald Trump signaling opposition to the bill by arguing the US should stop providing foreign aid unless it is in the form of a loan.
The bill includes $60 billion to support Ukraine in its fight against Russia, $14.1 billion in security assistance for Israel, $9.2 billion in humanitarian assistance, and $4.8 billion to support regional partners in the Indo-Pacific region in addition to other policy provisions, according to the Senate Appropriations Committee.
Path Forward for the House
“The House will have to figure out a path forward and they’ll have to do it their way, but we needed to start the process and we’ve done that,” Senate GOP Whip John Thune told reporters on Tuesday.
Previous Opposition and Border Provisions
The Senate passed the legislation after Republicans blocked a broader bill last week that would have combined foreign aid with a bipartisan border deal.
Republicans had initially demanded that border security be part of the bill, but went on to reject the bipartisan border deal amid forceful attacks on the measure by Trump and top House Republicans.
In a statement on Monday, Speaker Johnson criticized the foreign aid bill over its lack of border provisions.
Johnson had previously opposed the broader bill that did include border provisions. The speaker has characterized those provisions as insufficient, despite the fact that they were the product of bipartisan negotiations and included restrictive border measures.
Trump’s Opposition and NATO Comments
The Senate continued to move forward on the bill as Trump argued the US should not grant foreign aid unless it is a loan, signaling opposition to the legislation.
Trump has also indicated he would encourage Russian aggression against any NATO member country that doesn’t pay enough.
A number of Senate Republicans either defended or downplayed Trump’s NATO comments on Monday.
Senate Discord and Opposition
In the Senate, consideration of the bill crawled along for days as Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky vowed to drag out the timeline in protest over the legislation.
Any one senator can slow down the process and force the Senate to take time-consuming votes to arrive at final passage.
Paul continued to dig in on Sunday, saying that he will hold out until “hell freezes over.”
He indicated he is ready to hold the floor by speaking on the issue of national debt and other matters.
Key Vote and Conclusion
On Sunday, just hours before the start of the Super Bowl, the chamber took a key vote to move the package forward by a tally of 67 to 27.
This story and headline have been updated with additional developments. CNN’s Kate Sullivan contributed to this report.
Read More of this Story at www.cnn.com – 2024-02-13 11:38:00
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