US

Senate Passes $95 Billion Aid Bill for Ukraine, Israel, and Taiwan Amid Uncertainty in the House

The US Senate, led by Democrats, has successfully passed a significant military aid package totaling $95.34 billion, aimed at supporting Ukraine, Israel, and Taiwan. This move, however, faces an uncertain future as it heads to the Republican-dominated House of Representatives, casting doubt on the bill’s final enactment.

After enduring months of negotiation and political discord, the Senate’s approval came with a 70-29 vote, surpassing the required 60-vote threshold. This bipartisan effort saw 22 Republicans joining forces with the majority of Democrats, highlighting the bill’s broad appeal across party lines.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer emphasized the bill’s historic nature, stating, “It’s certainly been years, perhaps decades, since the Senate has passed a bill that so greatly impacts not just our national security, not just the security of our allies, but the security of Western democracy.” Schumer expressed optimism about the bill’s prospects in the House, urging Republican Speaker Mike Johnson to allow a vote.

Ukrainian service members fire an L119 howitzer towards Russian troops near the front-line town of Bakhmut, Ukraine, December 2023. REUTERS/Viacheslav Ratynskyi

However, Speaker Johnson’s pre-vote statement criticized the bill for omitting conservative demands to address the surge of migrants across the US-Mexico border, indicating reluctance to bring the bill to the floor soon. This stance might compel Democrats to pursue a discharge petition, a seldom-used strategy to bypass the Speaker’s gatekeeping, though its success remains uncertain.

The aid package is crucial for Ukraine as it continues to fend off Russian aggression and sustain its economy amidst the protracted conflict. President Joe Biden, who has consistently advocated for more support for Ukraine, reiterated the importance of the aid, stating, “If we do not stand against tyrants who seek to conquer or carve up their neighbors’ territory, the consequences for America’s national security will be significant.”

Despite the Senate’s support, the House’s hesitancy reflects the influence of Republican hardliners and the shadow of Donald Trump’s presidency, especially his recent criticisms of the aid package. The bill’s comprehensive scope, including substantial funds for Israel and Taiwan and humanitarian aid for conflict zones like Gaza and the West Bank, underscores the US’s strategic interests in bolstering allies and countering adversaries such as China.

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