Senate Procedural Vote Approves $60B for Ukraine, but Will House Republicans Resistance Derail It?

  • by:
  • Source: Wayne Dupree
  • 02/12/2024
On Sunday, a significant procedural vote was held on a broad US foreign assistance package that includes $60 billion for Ukraine. However, right-wing Republicans' resistance might prevent the plan from becoming law. Although Taiwan, a vital strategic ally, and Israel will benefit from part of the $95 billion package, the majority will go toward pro-Western Ukraine's replenishment of weaponry, ammunition, and other essential supplies as it moves into its third year of conflict.

A procedural hold on the measure was lifted by a vote of 67-27 in the Senate, which is led by a very narrow Democratic majority. This means that a final simple-majority vote on the bill is practically certain to pass by midweek.

The Senate seldom holds votes on weekends, and this time, the crucial NFL championship game falls on Sunday. Before the vote, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said, "I do not recall the last time the Senate was in session on Super Bowl Sunday, but as I have maintained all week long, we are going to keep working on this measure until the job is done."

"Parts of Eastern Europe are experiencing a war zone that has not been seen there since the Second World War as we speak, thanks to Vladimir Putin's invasion of Ukraine," the senator from New York said.

"The Senate must take this danger head-on and adopt this measure as quickly as possible. That is the only appropriate response."

After Republicans on Wednesday rejected a previous version of the help that included many of the border security measures they had been advocating for months, the aid seemed to be doomed.

Republicans instead seemed to conclude that they would prefer to postpone any border improvements until after November's election, presumably in response to pressure from former president Donald Trump, who is vying for office once again and hopes to take advantage of Joe Biden's perceived weakness on immigration.

Before the elections, the two parties have not been able to come to much consensus. Much of the instability, however, has been directly attributed to Trump, who, despite losing the 2020 presidential race to Biden and being deeply involved in legal matters, seems certain to remain the Republican standard-bearer in November.

Initially, Senate Republicans insisted on border security before providing pro-Western Ukraine with assistance in fending off Putin's invasion in February 2022. However, Trump's campaign for reelection to the presidency is built on his criticism of Biden's handling of the border dispute.
At first, a hard-won bipartisan agreement that combined funding to Israel and Ukraine with some of the strictest immigration restrictions in decades was heralded as a breakthrough on some of the most important problems the nation was confronting.

But, as soon as Trump advised Congress to reject the idea, it fell apart only a few days after it was unveiled over the weekend. The considerably more Trump-friendly House of Representatives would still need to approve the foreign assistance even if it gets a pass from the Senate.

The foreign aid-only bill's potential floor vote has not been disclosed by Republican House Speaker Mike Johnson. Volodymyr Zelensky, the president of Ukraine, said on X, the previous Twitter platform, that the vote was a "difficult day" for the president of Russia but a "very significant first step" in opening up more help for his nation.


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