The Senate took a step forward in finalizing an aid package for Ukraine and Israel. The ‘test vote’ on Sunday saw 67 votes in favor and 27 against on the $95.3 billion aid package for Ukraine, Israel, and other countries. Democratic Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Republican Leader Mitch McConnell issued warnings about the consequences of abandoning allies in Europe. McConnell said that the eyes of the world are on the United States Senate. Schumer noted that Democrats remain hopeful that they can reach a deal with Republicans to speed up the process to reach a vote on final approval.
If the Senate ultimately approves the bill, it would go to the House of Representatives, where it is unclear whether the speaker of the House, Mike Johnson, would put it to a vote. Many House Republicans oppose more aid to Ukraine. McConnell has made Ukraine a priority issue, but more members of his Republican conference have followed the lead of Donald Trump and oppose the aid. The Senate is holding several votes on procedure on the reduced aid package after the failure of an attempt to combine it with legislation to curb immigration at the US border.
Objections from Republicans have delayed quick action, forcing weekend votes while negotiations continue on possible amendments to the legislation. Schumer has said he is open to amendments, but he forced senators to remain in session over the weekend to try to speed up the process. In a key vote last week, 17 Republican senators agreed to begin debate on the bill, and 31 voted against it, giving McConnell and other Republican supporters of the aid new hope that it could pass.
The package would provide $60 billion for Ukraine, primarily for the purchase of American-made defense equipment, including munitions and air defense systems. It also includes $8 billion for the Kiev government and other aid. It would also provide $14 billion in aid for Israel’s war against the Hamas group, $8 billion for Taiwan and Indo-Pacific partners to counter China, and $9.2 billion in humanitarian aid for Gaza.
The aid package is deeply uncertain in the House of Representatives, where a large majority of Republican Party lawmakers are firmly allied with Trump. The aid package is crucial for Ukraine and Israel, and it is essential that the Senate and House of Representatives work together to ensure that it is approved.
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