U.S. Senate approves Ukraine, Israel aid, but bill faces tough path through House

Ukraine sympathizers fly a Ukrainian flag outside as the Senate works through the weekend on a $95.3 billion foreign aid bill with assistance for Ukraine and Israel at the U.S. Capitol on February 11, 2024 in Washington, DC. 

Roberto Schmidt | Getty Images

The U.S. Senate voted early Tuesday to approve a $95 billion aid package providing funds for Ukraine, Israel and Taiwan, but its future remains uncertain amid intense lawmaker opposition.

The package includes $61 billion for Ukraine, $14 billion for Israel and $4.83 billion to support partners in the Indo-Pacific, including Taiwan, along with facilities for humanitarian aid.

The bill passed by 70-29 votes in the Democrat-led legislature on Tuesday, with Sen. Cynthia Lummis (R-Wyo.) abstaining.

Only two Democratic senators voted against the measures, alongside independent Sen. Bernie Sanders, who has stated his opposition to unconditional aid for Israel.

The bill must still be approved by the Republican-led House of Representatives before becoming law. It faces stringent opposition from many in the GOP, who have pushed for the inclusion of funding for domestic security on the southern border.

House Speaker Mike Johnson on Monday said that the latest iteration of the bill had failed to meet those demands, adding it “should have gone back to the drawing board… to include real border security provisions that would actually held end the ongoing catastrophe.”

“Instead, the Senate’s foreign aid bill is silent on the most pressing issue facing our country,” he said in a statement at the time, adding that “the House will have to continue to work its own will on these important matters.”

U.S. President Joe Biden and his top officials have stressed that approving funds is crucial to uphold Washington’s international obligations and to protect domestic security.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy on Tuesday thanked Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell and all the senators who backed the bill.

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

Schumer said the Senate was “telling Putin he will regret the day he questioned America’s resolve.”

“With the passage of this national security bill, the Senate is sending a clear bipartisan message of resolve to our allies in NATO,” he said.

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