Senate moves toward passing bill on foreign aid to Ukraine, Israel and Taiwan

The Senate headed toward a critical vote Tuesday to clear the way for final consideration of the $95.3 billion aid package to Ukraine, Israel and Taiwan, setting the stage for the bill's passage and sending to President Biden for his signature.

The measure, which passed the House on Saturday, is expected to gain broad bipartisan support in a test vote scheduled for early afternoon. That would trigger a vote on final approval as early as Tuesday evening. Biden urged lawmakers to move quickly on the bill so he can sign it into law.

“The Senate is coming together at a time that is nearly six months in the making,” said Senator Chuck Schumer, Democrat of New York and majority leader. “A few days ago, the House of Representatives finally approved critical national security funding for Ukraine, Israel, the Indo-Pacific, and humanitarian assistance. Today it is up to the Senate to act.”

“Let's not delay this,” he continued. “Let's not prolong this. Let's not keep our friends around the world waiting any longer.”

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

The bill's components are nearly identical to the one that passed the Senate with bipartisan support in February. Includes $60.8 billion for Ukraine; $26.4 billion for Israel and humanitarian aid for civilians in conflict zones, including Gaza; and $8.1 billion for the Indo-Pacific region.

In addition to the sweetener package, which also includes a new round of sanctions against Iran, the House added provisions to direct the president to ask the Ukrainian government to repay $10 billion in economic assistance. This was a nod to former President Donald J. Trump's request for a loan to Kiev for any further aid. But the bill would allow the president to forgive such loans starting in 2026.

Some hardline Republicans who oppose continuing to send aid to Ukraine are expected to vote against the legislation, as are some liberal Democrats, who have said they cannot support sending more offensive weapons to Israel at a time when whose government campaign in Gaza has killed tens of thousands of people and created a food crisis there.

But an overwhelming majority of senators are expected to support the legislation, and Senate leaders viewed the bill's impending passage as a particular triumph, given the months-long opposition to aid for Ukraine that had built up in the House .

For months, Johnson and right-wing House Republicans had refused to consider helping Ukraine unless Biden agreed to a series of tough measures to reduce immigration at the U.S. border with Mexico . When Senate Democrats passed legislation earlier this year that combined the aid with tougher border enforcement provisions, Trump denounced it and Republicans rejected it without a second thought.

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

In broad comments on the Senate floor before the procedural vote on Tuesday, McConnell characterized Congress' approval of the relief package as “a test of American resolve, our preparedness and our willingness to lead,” and he rebuked those who, he said, would “indulge the fantasy of raising a drawbridge.”

“Make no mistake: The delay in providing Ukraine with weapons to defend itself has put a strain on the prospects of defeating Russian aggression,” McConnell said. “Dithering and hesitation have compounded the challenges we face. Today's action is expected, but our work doesn't end there. Confidence in American resolve cannot be rebuilt overnight. Expanding and replenishing the arsenal of democracy does not simply happen by magic.”

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