Senate Moves Toward Approving Aid to Ukraine, Israel and Taiwan

Equipo
By Equipo
4 Min Read

The Senate was headed on Tuesday toward a critical vote to clear the way for final consideration of the $95 billion package of aid to Ukraine, Israel and Taiwan, setting the stage for approving the bill and sending it to President Biden for his signature.

The measure, passed by the House on Saturday, was expected to draw broad bipartisan support in a test vote scheduled for early afternoon. That would tee up a vote on final passage as early as Tuesday evening. Mr. Biden has urged lawmakers to move quickly on the bill so he can sign it into law.

“To our friends in Ukraine, to our allies in NATO, to our allies in Israel and to civilians around the world in need of aid: Rest assured. America will deliver yet again,” Senator Chuck Schumer, Democrat of New York and the majority leader, said as he set up the vote. He called the House passage of the legislation “a watershed moment for the defense of democracy.”

The House on Saturday passed the package in four pieces: a measure for each of the three U.S. allies, and another meant to sweeten the deal for conservatives that could result in a nationwide ban of TikTok. They sent legislation to the Senate as a single package that will require only one up-or-down vote to pass. Speaker Mike Johnson structured the legislation that way in the House to capture different coalitions of support without allowing opposition to any one element to defeat the whole thing.

The legislation’s components are nearly identical to a bill that passed the Senate with bipartisan support in February. It includes $61 billion for Ukraine; $26 billion for Israel and humanitarian aid for civilians in conflict zones, including Gaza; and $8 billion for the Indo-Pacific region. The House added provisions to direct the president to seek repayment from the Ukrainian government of $10 billion in economic assistance, a concept supported by former President Donald J. Trump, who had pushed for any aid to Kyiv to be in the form of a loan. It would also allow the president to forgive those loans starting in 2026.

Some hard-line Republicans who are opposed to continuing to send aid to Ukraine are expected to oppose the legislation, as are some liberal Democrats, who have said they cannot endorse sending more offensive weapons to Israel at a time when the government’s campaign has killed tens of thousands of people in Gaza and created a hunger crisis.

But the vast majority of senators are expected to support the legislation, and Senate leaders regarded the bill’s imminent passage as a particular triumph, given the monthslong opposition to aid for Ukraine that had built up in the House.

For months, Mr. Johnson and right-wing Republicans in the House had refused to entertain considering aid to Ukraine unless Mr. Biden agreed to a series of stringent measures to curtail immigration on the U.S. border with Mexico. When Senate Democrats agreed earlier this year to legislation that paired the aid with stiffer border enforcement provisions, Mr. Trump denounced it and Republicans rejected it out of hand.

Then the Senate passed its own $95 billion emergency aid legislation for Ukraine, Israel and Taiwan without any immigration measures, ramping up political pressure on the House to do the same. The message to Mr. Johnson from Mr. Schumer and Senator Mitch McConnell, Republican of Kentucky and the minority leader, was the same: Pass the Senate bill.

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