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US Senate passes Ukraine aid bill, awaits uneasy House vote

by Nate Ostiller February 13, 2024 2:13 PM 3 min read
The U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C. on Dec. 13, 2023. (Jemal Countess/Getty Images for Congressional Integrity Project)
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Editor's note: This is a breaking story and will continue to be updated.

The U.S. Senate approved a $95 billion funding package in the early morning of Feb. 13 that contained $60 billion in aid for Ukraine. The bill also allocated $14 billion in security assistance for Israel, humanitarian aid for Gaza and Ukraine, support for U.S. allies in the Indo-Pacific, and funds to deter attacks by Houthi rebels in the Red Sea.

"Today, we make (Russian President) Vladimir Putin regret the day he questioned America’s resolve. Today, we send a clear bipartisan message of resolve to our allies in NATO," said Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer.

The bill, which received 70 votes in favor and 29 against, will now go to the Republican-led House, where it still faces significant obstacles.

The news was welcomed in Ukraine as a significant step toward the aid's ultimate passage.

"I am grateful to Schumer, (Senate Minority Leader Mitch) McConnell) and every U.S. senator who has supported continued assistance to Ukraine as we fight for freedom, democracy, and the values we all hold dear," said President Volodymyr Zelensky.

"American assistance brings just peace in Ukraine closer and restores global stability, resulting in increased security and prosperity for all Americans and all the free world."

Media: NATO may start coordinating Ukraine aid instead of US
One of the alleged reasons behind this consideration is the possibility of Donald Trump’s return to the White House, according to Handelsblatt.

The bill ultimately passed the Senate after hours of debate and some forceful denunciations from several Republican senators.

At the same time, McConnell urged members of his party to support the bill and not forget the U.S.'s long-time role in maintaining global security.

"I know it’s become quite fashionable in some circles to disregard the global interests we have as a global power," said McConnell. "This is idle work for idle minds. And it has no place in the U.S. Senate."

Senator Mitt Romney, one of the most outspoken opponents of the so-called "MAGA" wing of the Republican that is most loyal to former President Donald Trump, said that "if your position is being cheered by Vladimir Putin, it’s time to reconsider your position."

The bill was previously attached to proposed changes to U.S. border policy and additional funding to security, but the broader legislation failed to pass earlier in February.

Trump urged members of his party not to support it or any other effort to pass border security, partially because he plans to make the issue central to his general election campaign.

The aid bill still faces an uphill battle in the Republican-controlled House.

House Speaker Mike Johnson preemptively rejected the bill on Feb. 12 before it was even passed by the Senate, saying that domestic border issues must first be addressed before any foreign aid is approved.

Republican Senator Eric Schmitt said that the bill is "dead in the House," echoing comments that Johnson made about a previous iteration of the funding package.

Marjorie Taylor Greene, the controversial member of Congress and conspiracy theorist, said the bill was "DOA" in the House and "an American betrayal."

Schumer and other senators were nonetheless hopeful that the fact the bill was passed with some Republican support increased its chances of moving forward in the House.

"I believe that if this bill is brought to the House floor, it will pass with strong bipartisan support," Schumer said.

Border concerns take over after Trump’s primary victories, Ukraine aid in question
Former President Donald Trump’s commanding primary victories have brought the race to the brink of a rematch with President Joe Biden, and caused concern that aid for Ukraine is not a priority for Republicans.
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