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US Senator Schumer says congressional party leaders reach 'consensus' on aid to Israel, Ukraine

by Kateryna Denisova and The Kyiv Independent news desk April 15, 2024 11:25 AM 3 min read
Ukraine sympathizers fly a Ukrainian flag outside the U.S. Capitol building in Washington, D.C. as the Senate worked on a $95.3 billion foreign aid bill with assistance for Ukraine and Israel on Feb. 11, 2024. (Roberto Schmidt/Getty Images)
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U.S. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said that U.S. President Joe Biden and congressional leaders during an April 14 call reached a "consensus" that Congress should act quickly to provide aid to both Israel and Ukraine.

Schumer hopes that "something will be done" this week to help the two nations, he said at a press conference in New York, as cited by ABC News.

In February, a $95 billion aid package to Ukraine, Israel, and Taiwan passed in the Senate with bipartisan support, with $60 billion going toward supporting Kyiv. House Speaker Mike Johnson has yet to put the bill to a vote in his chamber.

Delays in U.S. assistance to Ukraine have already had a direct impact on the battlefield, contributing to the loss of the key front-line city of Avdiivka. Amid the escalating situation on the eastern front and intensified Russian attacks on energy infrastructure, President Volodymyr Zelensky said that "Ukraine will lose the war" if the U.S. Congress fails to approve military aid.

Johnson told in an interview with Fox News aired on April 14 that he was planning to move forward with voting for military aid to Israel after a weekend Iranian attack, without specifying whether the package would include funding for Ukraine.

"The House Republicans and the Republican Party understand the need to stand with Israel. We're going to try again this week, and the details of that package are being put together right now," Johnson said, adding that "all options" are being considered.

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Israel’s Defense Forces (IDF) said on April 14 that Iran launched 170 drones, 30 cruise missiles, and 120 ballistic missiles at the country, most of which were downed outside Israel. A few ballistic missiles entered Israeli territory, causing minor damage to the Nevatim Air Force Base, according to IDF Spokesperson Daniel Hagari.

The attack was reportedly in response to Israel’s strike on an Iranian consulate in Syria on April 1 as part of the broader Israel-Hamas war. Israel targeted the Iranian consulate in response to attacks by Iran's proxies, Hamas and Hezbollah, on its territory.

Johnson has faced increased pressure and dissent from far-right House Republicans, who initially blocked Ukraine aid funding due to border security disagreements.

Previously, he rejected the Senate-approved aid bill on the grounds that it did not address the ongoing crisis at the southern border, but he has since signaled his intentions to eventually bring forward a funding package for a vote.

Johnson initially promised to hold a vote on aid for Ukraine following the end of the Easter holiday, but top Republicans contradicted Johnson's timeline stating that the aid vote would be weeks away.

Why some far-right Republicans are hell bent on ending further aid to Ukraine
As the world watched in horror at Russia’s unprovoked full-scale invasion and war against Ukraine in the early months of 2022, Americans rallied firmly behind the embattled eastern European democracy. Shortly after the start of the full-scale war, 79% of U.S. voters supported sending arms to Ukrain…

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