The United States Senate has approved a $95 billion emergency spending bill that will provide military and humanitarian aid to Ukraine, Israel, and Taiwan. The strong 67-32 vote, which could portend eventual approval, came after a tense week on Capitol Hill, when a bipartisan trio of senators introduced legislation to change the country’s border security and immigration laws. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said the deal was unlikely to pass due to opposition from Republican lawmakers and former President Donald Trump, the GOP presidential nominee.
The Senate officially rejected moving forward with the larger bill, which included foreign aid and immigration provisions, despite McConnell and others’ initial push for it. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer postponed the vote until Thursday to give Republican senators time to decide whether they wanted to begin debate or block the bill using the chamber’s legislative filibuster. Some Republican senators voted to advance the bill, while others voted against it, as election-year politics continued to divide the Senate GOP and have an impact on what would have been broadly bipartisan legislation.
Schumer said he was working with Republicans to reach an agreement on amendment debate and that the Senate would not begin a two-week break until the legislation was approved. Failure to pass the legislation would “embold autocrats” such as Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping, who seek nothing more than America’s demise.
West Virginia’s Shelley Moore Capito, Louisiana’s Bill Cassidy, Maine’s Susan Collins, Texas’ John Cornyn, Iowa’s Joni Ernst, Iowa’s Chuck Grassley, Louisiana’s John Kennedy, McConnell, Kansas’ Jerry Moran, Alaska’s Lisa Murkowski, Utah’s Mitt Romney, South Dakota’s Mike Rounds, Alaska’s Dan Sullivan, South Dakota’s John Thune, North Carolina’s Thom Tillis, Mississippi’s Roger Wicker, and Indi
Appropriations Chair Patty Murray emphasised the importance of bipartisanship in passing legislation that would provide $95.3 billion in military and humanitarian aid to Ukraine, Israel, and Taiwan. The package would be sent to the US Departments of Defence, Energy, and State, as well as the US Agency for International Development. The Defence Department would receive $48.4 billion in aid for Ukraine, which it would use to replenish weapons and equipment sent to the country to help fight Russia’s invasion. The US military would also use the funds to provide Ukraine with training, intelligence, and support.
A total of $8 million would be allocated to the Defence Department Inspector General to oversee how US assistance is used and to continue serving as the Special Inspector General for Operation Atlantic Resolve. An additional $10.6 billion would be allocated to the US Defence Department to assist Israel in its war against Hamas following the terrorist attacks on October 7. The US Defence Department would receive an additional $2.6 billion “to bolster U.S. and allied capabilities in the Indo-Pacific and deter China.”
The US Energy Department would allocate approximately $3 billion to the National Nuclear Security Administration to address issues in Ukraine and “support domestic uranium enrichment to bolster production of civil nuclear fuel and advanced nuclear fuel.” The US State Department and USAID would receive $9.2 billion in humanitarian assistance, which could be used to provide emergency food, shelter, and basic services to people affected by a number of complex and long-running crises, including those in Ukraine, Gaza, the West Bank, East Africa, South Asia, and elsewhere.
An additional $7.6 billion would be provided for economic assistance to Ukraine and other countries impacted by Russia’s war in that country. The US State Department would receive an additional $3.5 billion in foreign military financing for Israel to help it “reestablish territorial security and deterrence.” The Inspector General of the United States State Department and USAID would receive $25 million to oversee the use of emergency funding in the bill.