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Senate GOP blocks Ukraine funding bill from advancing

by Sonya Bandouil December 7, 2023 3:13 AM 2 min read
Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C. on Dec. 5, 2023. (Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images)
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Republicans in the U.S. Senate blocked a supplemental funding bill that included aid for Ukraine, Israel, and Taiwan in a procedural vote held Dec. 6, multiple outlets reported.

The funding package includes $61 billion in aid to Ukraine. Funding for Ukraine has become a source of controversy among U.S. lawmakers in recent months, bringing the government to the brink of a shutdown.

Sixty votes were needed to take up and advance the bill on Dec. 6, but the Senate voted against it in a 49-51 vote, with all Republicans opposing the legislation.

Republicans argued that the foreign aid legislation must be paired with significant domestic border security reforms, and they did not deem the current bill satisfactory. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer offered Senate Republicans the opportunity to propose an amendment to the bill, but no action has been taken yet.

Schumer accused the Senate GOP of “hostage taking.”

“If Republicans are unable to produce a broadly bipartisan immigration proposal, they should not block aid to Ukraine in response,” Schumer said.  

Ahead of the vote, President Joe Biden emphasized the urgency of passing the funding bill, as aid is set to potentially run out in the coming weeks. He strongly encouraged Congress to pass the bill before the holiday recess.

The White House hopes the supplemental funding will last Ukraine through 2024.

Oksana Markarova, Ukraine's Ambassador to the U.S., responded to the vote on Facebook, saying that senators insisted their votes against the bill were not "votes against Ukraine."

"Therefore, we continue to work actively with our colleagues and, based on very productive meetings these days, we hope that before Christmas, Congress will support the agreed package," Markarova said.

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