Ukraine Aid Bill Advanced in US Senate Amid Republican and Trump Opposition
09:23 GMT 12.02.2024 (Updated: 07:43 GMT 20.02.2024)
If the US’ upper chamber finally approves the bill, it will go to the House, where Speaker Mike Johnson has yet to decide whether a vote on the document will be held.
The US Senate moved a $95.3 billion supplemental funding bill for Israel, Ukraine, and Taiwan forward on Sunday in the third vote over the past week.
Senators voted 67-27 in favor in another step to move the bill toward its final passage in the upper chamber, despite opposition from some conservative Republicans. A number of GOP senators did, however, vote in favor of moving the bill forward.
The vote is expected to be followed by the document going to the House, where it’s unclear when or whether Speaker Mike Johnson would hold a vote on it, according to US media.
Last Wednesday, the Senate blocked a larger $118 billion package, which included border policy measures alongside foreign and national security funding.
The $95.3 bill, in turn, includes $60 billion for Ukraine, $14 billion in security assistance for Israel, $9 billion in humanitarian assistance for Gaza, and $4.8 billion to support US regional partners in the Indo-Pacific.
Republican Senator Rand Paul earlier voted against advancing the bill and called on lawmakers to address domestic security first.
"It’s a terrible idea to put forward and pass a bill that tries to secure other countries’ borders before we secure our own. This bill sends the message to Americans that their elected officials don’t care about them,” Paul tweeted.
Speaking to CNN, the senator said that he thinks his colleagues should stay at the Senate “as long as it takes,” adding, “if it takes a week or a month, I’ll force them to stay here to discuss why they think the border of Ukraine is more important than the US border.”
He was echoed by former President Donald Trump who wrote on the Truth Social platform that Washington should stop providing foreign aid unless it is structured as a loan.
"We should never give money anymore without the hope of a payback, or without ‘strings’ attached. The United States of America should be ‘stupid’ no longer," Trump pointed out.
This came after White House Coordinator for Strategic Communications John Kirby told reporters that the US's funding to Kiev
has stopped until Congress approves a request for new packages.
Moscow has repeatedly stressed that the US and its allies’ assistance to Ukraine
will not affect the course of the Russian special military operation, and will only fuel the conflict.