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US Senate advances aid bill for Ukraine despite Trump opposition

Published Feb 11, 2024 06:02AM ET Updated Feb 11, 2024 06:06PM ET
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© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Tourists walk near the U.S. Capitol as the Senate votes to begin work on a bill that includes aid for Ukraine, Israel and Taiwan in Washington, U.S., February 9, 2024. REUTERS/Nathan Howard/File Photo

By David Morgan

WASHINGTON (Reuters) -A narrowly divided U.S. Senate moved closer to passing a $95.34 billion aid package for Ukraine, Israel and Taiwan on Sunday, showing undiminished bipartisanship despite opposition from Republican hardliners and Donald Trump.

The Democratic-led Senate voted 67-27 in a rare Sunday session to clear the latest procedural hurdle and moved the foreign aid measure toward an ultimate vote on passage in the coming days.

The money is viewed as crucial by Kyiv, as it grinds toward the second anniversary of Russia's invasion of Ukraine. But Senate passage would send the bill on to the Republican-controlled House of Representatives, where it faces an uncertain future.

Eighteen Republicans backed the legislation after Trump, the dominant Republican White House candidate, criticized the bill on social media by saying that the foreign aid should take the form of a loan. Trump also sparked exasperation at home and abroad by saying he would encourage aggression against NATO allies who do not pay their dues to the alliance.

Ahead of Sunday's vote, Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell chided those who he said would disregard U.S. global interests, bemoan American leadership and lament international commitments.

"This is idle work for idle minds, and it has no place in the United States Senate," McConnell said. "American leadership matters. And it is in question."

Democratic President Joe Biden, who has been seeking the aid for months, on Friday said Congress would be guilty of "neglect" if it failed to pass the measure.

The next Senate action is expected on Monday sometime after 8 p.m. EST (0100 GMT), when lawmakers are due to hold two procedural votes: one to adopt the foreign aid package as an amendment to an underlying House bill; and a second to limit debate ahead of a final vote on passage, which could come on Wednesday, according to aides.

The legislation includes $61 billion for Ukraine, $14 billion for Israel in its war against Hamas and $4.83 billion to support partners in the Indo-Pacific, including Taiwan, and deter aggression by China.

It also would provide $9.15 billion in humanitarian assistance to civilians in Gaza and the West Bank, Ukraine and other conflict zones around the globe.

House Speaker Mike Johnson, who has a slim 219-212 Republican majority, has indicated that he could try to split the aid provisions into separate measures once the bill arrives from the Senate.

But a standalone aid bill for Israel fell victim in the House last week to opposition from Democrats who favor the broader Senate legislation and from hardline Republicans who wanted compensating spending cuts, in a pair of humiliating defeats for Johnson.

During a visit to Kyiv on Friday, a bipartisan delegation of House lawmakers vowed to do their part to pass the measure.

Senate Republicans believe bipartisan passage would help stir support among Republicans in the House.

"It will shape the environment such that ... more Republicans will feel comfortable advancing the bill," Senator Todd Young, an Indiana Republican, told reporters.

Republican support for the measure could grow and the pace of progress could quicken if Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and McConnell can reach an agreement allowing votes on Republican amendments.

Republicans want amendments that could address the record flow of migrants across the U.S.-Mexico border and forgo humanitarian assistance provisions by restricting foreign aid to weapons and materiel.

But some Republicans who oppose further aid to Ukraine have vowed to delay consideration by forcing the Senate to comply with a labyrinth of time-consuming parliamentary rules.

US Senate advances aid bill for Ukraine despite Trump opposition
 

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Comments (34)
Ken Roth
Ken Roth Feb 12, 2024 6:34AM ET
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Simple question. Will you help a European ally under attack or help russia win?
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Tre Hsi
Tre Hsi Feb 12, 2024 6:34AM ET
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Mark Jannetty  "Biden instigated this war"  -- yes, Biden the criminal mastermind instigated this whole "speical military operation", your boss Putin never was tricked into it!
Brad Albright
Brad Albright Feb 12, 2024 6:34AM ET
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Its not Putin's fault, he's a victim. Where is your empathy for murderous psychopaths with delusions of grandeur?
Tre Hsi
Tre Hsi Feb 12, 2024 6:34AM ET
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Brad Albright  it's hilarious those MAGA nutjobs won't even admit that their bff Putin already lost, even if Russia gets to keep all the terrritory it took from Ukraine.......NATO already expanded, Russia lost half of its foreign reserve, most of its arm export markets, and Europe will never buy any significant quantities of oil and gas from Russia again, not to mention 300k casualties (and counting) in its arm force and equal amount of educated young people left who will probably never return........oh, and it's now official that Putin is China's bit**ch
Brad Albright
Brad Albright Feb 12, 2024 6:34AM ET
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And put the Russian people in the proud position of now being allies with the worlds worst authoritarian human rights violators North Korea and Iran.
First Last
First Last Feb 12, 2024 6:34AM ET
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Brad Albright   To be fair, Russia was allied "with the worlds worst authoritarian human rights violators North Korea and Iran" (and retrumplicans allied themselves w/ Kremlin) before its all-out invasion of Ukraine.
Ken Roth
Ken Roth Feb 12, 2024 6:32AM ET
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Most of the money will never reach ukraine…will go to US military restocking with modern weapons from american weapons factories. Ukraine needs our old equipment and ammunition of which we have plenty. So the question you should be asking, will US help an ally that are under attack from an evil russian dictator, or should we help russia defeat a european democratic country who shares our values.
Barry Nickerson
Subbuilder Feb 12, 2024 6:11AM ET
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Every time the Republicans cut taxes, (by the way, when was the last time that happened?  Three, four five, six years ago?), the Democrats refuse to cut spending to offset it.  Now another $95 billion to pay interest on.
Tre Hsi
Tre Hsi Feb 12, 2024 6:11AM ET
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"the Democrats refuse to cut spending to offset it."  -- that's hilarious, during Trump's first 2 years GOP had majority in Senate AND House, and what spendings did the GOP majority cut to fund the tax cut they passed?  so was it democrats' fault that after 2 years of GOP's majority in Congress the federal deficit still went up the same rate as during Obama years???
First Last
First Last Feb 12, 2024 6:11AM ET
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Cut in spending should happen before, or at least simultaneously, with cut in taxes.  Tax cut should be after debt has been reduced substantially.
Brad Albright
Brad Albright Feb 12, 2024 6:11AM ET
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Do you ever pause for a moment's self reflection to consider the logic of your thoughts? When Republicans have the power to cut taxes, the also simultaneously have the power to cut spending. If they don't, that's not the Democrat's fault. Man, the magabillies are some mind numbingly dyumb mofos.
First Last
First Last Feb 12, 2024 6:11AM ET
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Brad Albright   Being ineffective and unprofessional deplorables, retrumplicans want the Dems to make the hard choices, to do the heavy lifting retrumplicans can't.  All the while the retrumplicans are the ones booing & obstructing the things the Dems are trying to accomplish.
Ac Tektrader
Ac Tektrader Feb 12, 2024 12:07AM ET
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if you want even More debt and a multi trillion dollar war, let Putin wins his dirty little war in ukraine. the Chinese are watching our resolve. if Russia wins the Chinese will start planing their invasion of Taiwan. and Russia will start their planning for a war in Europe.
Options Trader
Options Trader Feb 11, 2024 11:01PM ET
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When is enough enough? We are so far in debt, yet continue to cut checks for others countries. Crazy
Ac Tektrader
Ac Tektrader Feb 11, 2024 11:01PM ET
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wel what did you expect, the Republicans keep giving away money to the corporations and the rich through their multi trillion dollar tax breaks.
Ac Tektrader
Ac Tektrader Feb 11, 2024 11:01PM ET
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Trump Republicans raised the debt by 30%in 4 years.
Ken Roth
Ken Roth Feb 11, 2024 11:01PM ET
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Options trader its called helping an ally thats being attacked by an evil country something you know little about.
Ac Tektrader
Ac Tektrader Feb 11, 2024 11:01PM ET
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I have friends in Odessa......
Brad Albright
Brad Albright Feb 11, 2024 11:01PM ET
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Slava Ukraini! 🇺🇦
Symmetries Research
SymResearch Feb 11, 2024 10:20PM ET
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The next upgrade in democracy has to be the elimination of the power to go to war & ability to spend deficitly. These two things once patched, is the next upgrade for people. The result will be no wars and nobody would want to be a politician anymore lol.
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First Last
First Last Feb 11, 2024 10:20PM ET
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Brad Albright  Yup.  "no defense against authoritarian regimes" means no democracies.
Brad Albright
Brad Albright Feb 11, 2024 10:20PM ET
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First Last Which is why this proposal for disarmament is only aimed at democracies.
Mark Jannetty
Mark Jannetty Feb 11, 2024 10:20PM ET
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first, you do know we are not a democracy?
First Last
First Last Feb 11, 2024 10:20PM ET
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Mark Jannetty   Do you know US "not a democracy" is your goal, not reality?
Brad Albright
Brad Albright Feb 11, 2024 10:20PM ET
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Mark Jannetty Putin says you are.
Maximus Maximus
Maximus Maximus Feb 11, 2024 9:44PM ET
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Slava Ukraini! 🇺🇦
Maximus Maximus
Maximus Maximus Feb 11, 2024 9:43PM ET
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the russian trolls in here can't stand the west's relentless support of the brave Ukrainian people, fighting for our freedom against tyranny and barbarism.
Mark Jannetty
Mark Jannetty Feb 11, 2024 8:59PM ET
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wow TDS strong in the room tonight.
Maximus Maximus
Maximus Maximus Feb 11, 2024 8:59PM ET
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'mark' don't you get tired of operating all your fake profiles in here on behalf of your evil little dictator-master...?
First Last
First Last Feb 11, 2024 8:59PM ET
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Trump & his retrumplicans are the proven deranged ones.
Ken Roth
Ken Roth Feb 11, 2024 8:59PM ET
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Mark when do you rotate from the trenches to go back to russia?
Ac Tektrader
Ac Tektrader Feb 11, 2024 8:10PM ET
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Russian and Maga trolls spinning their web of lies and misinformation today.
 
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