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The Senate unanimously approved a bill that would offer assistance to Ukraine, Israel, and allies in the Indo-Pacific region. However, the bill may face challenges as House Speaker Mike Johnson stated he will not bring it to a vote.
The bill received opposition from only 29 senators, all of whom were Republicans. On the other hand, 70 senators, including 22 from the GOP, voted in support of the bill. Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky took the lead in opposing the $95.34 billion package, while several other Republican senators also voiced their opinions on Monday night and into Tuesday morning.
The law was passed following the rejection of a bigger proposal by Senate Republicans, which aimed to limit immigration and enhance security at the US-Mexico border. Democratic Senator Chris Murphy from Connecticut, Independent Senator Kyrsten Sinema from Arizona, and Republican Senator James Lankford from Oklahoma collaborated on the compromise, which was opposed by the House and several Republicans for being inadequate.
The bundle consists of financial assistance of $60.6 billion for Ukraine and $14.1 billion for Israel to support their fight against Hamas following the October 7 attack. Additionally, $2.44 billion is allocated to US Central Command for addressing combat costs related to the conflict in the Red Sea. Furthermore, $9.15 billion is designated for humanitarian aid to Ukraine, Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza, and $4.83 billion is set aside to assist regional allies in the Indo-Pacific region in countering the People’s Republic of China.
President Joe Biden praised the Senate’s decision in a statement on Tuesday, referring to the bill as “essential for promoting America’s national security objectives.”
I praise the group of Senators from both parties who collaborated to push this deal forward, and I strongly encourage the House to take swift action on it. We cannot delay any further, as the consequences of not acting are increasing daily in countries like Ukraine. According to reports, Ukrainian forces are running low on ammunition as they face renewed attacks from Russia.
He stated that if we do not oppose tyrants who aim to take over or divide the land of other countries, it will have a major impact on America’s safety and protection.
During a press briefing shortly after the vote took place in the early morning, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer referred to the bill as “one of the most significant and influential pieces of legislation” to have been approved by the Senate. He also stated that it has a major impact not only on our national security and that of our allies, but also on the security of Western democracy as we understand it.
Mr. Schumer stated that the overwhelming support for the bill in the Senate from both sides of the aisle suggests that it would likely receive a similar level of bipartisan support in the House, if Speaker Mike Johnson permits it to be voted on in his chamber.
However, Mr. Johnson, taking inspiration from former president Donald Trump’s call for the US to stop providing aid to Ukraine, issued a statement declaring that he would not present the bill for voting while the Senate discussed it.
The speaker stated that since the Senate has not made any changes to border policies, the House will have to take action on its own. He believes that the current state of the Senate is not satisfactory for America.
The comments were made following Senate Republicans’ delay in passing the aid package over the weekend. Mr. Paul, a strong critic of providing aid to Ukraine and a trusted friend of Mr. Trump, commended the House Speaker for standing firm in supporting Kyiv’s defense against Russia’s invasion.
“I believe that is incredibly encouraging,” he informed The Independent. “Furthermore, I believe our efforts to filibuster aided in delaying progress.”
During his floor speech, Mr. Paul discussed the supposed corruption in Ukraine as a justification for withholding aid to the United States’ ally. However, earlier that evening, Senator Thom Tillis of North Carolina, who had initially been involved in the negotiations for the bipartisan bill on immigration and foreign aid before ultimately voting against it, criticized Senator Paul and other individuals who have obstructed the passage of increased defense assistance through Congress.
When people hear a senator speak, they often believe what they say is true. The senator may make promises of passing bills that will bring wealth and privilege, but what about the families of the 25,000 soldiers who lost their lives in Ukraine? How do they feel about these promises?
Senator John Cornyn from Texas stated to The Independent that he is hopeful for the House to consider their own bill and allow the system to work as intended.
Other senators took alternative routes. At one point, senator Ron Johnson of Wisconsin, one of the most ardent opponents of aid to Ukraine, joined an X space with the site’s owner Elon Musk, who has criticised US support for Ukraine.
According to Mr. Johnson, it is crucial that the American public receives a diverse viewpoint, rather than only hearing from those in favor of the package and the mainstream media. He expressed doubt that Ukraine would be successful in defeating Russian President Vladimir Putin in the war.
Mr. Johnson stated that Putin’s war is crucial to him and he will not give it up.
Senator JD Vance from Ohio also commended Mr. Musk for his outspokenness.
“I believe this is yet another indication to the American public that, being a prominent figure in America, he views this bill as detrimental to the nation,” stated Mr. Vance in an interview with The Independent.
However, Mr. Tillis criticized fellow Republicans and asserted that American actions contributed to the weakening of Russia.
“Putin is losing this war folks,” Mr Tillis said on the floor. “This is not a stalemate. This guy is on life support.”
The recent development occurred after ex-president Donald Trump strongly objected to the initial bipartisan deal on immigration and foreign aid, causing it to fail. Over the weekend, Mr. Trump delivered a speech at a rally in South Carolina where he mentioned a conversation he had with a leader of a NATO member state, in which he expressed dissatisfaction with their failure to fulfill their responsibilities and urged them to act as they please.
However, certain members of the Republican party criticized their fellow politicians for refusing to support assistance for Ukraine.
Senator Mitt Romney of Utah stated in a speech that certain controversial radio hosts and internet provocateurs have stirred up a significant portion of his political party. He also warned that if one’s stance is being praised by Russian leader Vladimir Putin, it may be necessary to reassess that stance.
The Democratic senator, Mr Murphy, who negotiated the initial bipartisan deal, expressed disappointment with Republicans for prolonging the process. However, he stated that the deal would finally be put to a vote.
“I am disappointed that it has taken this long to accomplish, and I am unsure of the current stance of the House,” he stated in an interview with The Independent. “However, I am relieved that this will receive a strong bipartisan vote and I hope that the House will see reason.”
When questioned about Mr Johnson’s stance on only supporting the legislation if it includes border security, Ms Sinema responded more straightforwardly compared to her initial support for the bill.
She instructed The Independent to construct a time machine as she made her way towards the office of Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell.