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22 Republicans Help Pass $95B Foreign Aid Bill Without Border Security Provision

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., left, and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., stand together during a meeting with visiting Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni, at the Capitol in Washington, Thursday, July 27, 2023. Before adjourning for the August recess, the two leaders worked to authorize appropriations for fiscal year 2024 for military activities of the Department of Defense. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

In a recent move to bolster support for international allies, the US Senate has passed a comprehensive national security package that will channel $95 billion in aid to Ukraine, Israel, and regions within the Indo-Pacific. Following intense legislative discussions, the bill was approved early Tuesday morning.

With a final Senate vote tally of 70-29, the bipartisan support was evident, but it did not come without opposition. A notable minority comprising 22 Republican senators, along with Democratic Senators Peter Welch and Jeff Merkley, and Independent Senator Bernie Sanders opted to vote against the measure.

This substantial sum is allocated without any provisions for border security, a notable omission given the burgeoning $34 trillion national debt. Efforts by some to counterbalance this spending surge through cuts in other areas of the budget were ignored. Republican senators led a prolonged filibuster over the weekend, signaling strong resistance, with Senator Mike Lee from Utah notably committing himself to an extensive four-hour filibuster on Saturday that continued into the early hours of Tuesday.

Of the total amount approved, $60 billion is earmarked specifically for Ukraine to aid in its ongoing conflict with Russia. Israel is set to receive $14 billion, while $9 billion is dedicated to humanitarian aid in Gaza. Nearly $5 billion is allocated for strategic interests in the Indo-Pacific. This financial commitment follows the unsuccessful attempt to pass a $118 billion aid package—the previous week—which included a range of border and immigration issues and had seen bipartisan negotiations.

To date, the United States has committed over $100 billion in support of Ukraine since the onset of its military conflict with Russia in February of 2022.

“I applaud the bipartisan coalition of Senators who came together to advance this agreement, and I urge the House to move on this with urgency. We cannot afford to wait any longer,” President Joe Biden said in a statement Tuesday. “The costs of inaction are rising every day, especially in Ukraine. Already, we are seeing reports of Ukrainian troops running out of ammunition on the front lines as Russian forces continue to attack and Putin continues to dream of subjugating the Ukrainian people.”

In a press conference Tuesday morning, Sen. Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y. praised the package as “one of the most historic and consequential bills” to ever pass in the upper chamber.

“The responsibility now falls on Speaker [Mike] Johnson, and House Republicans to approve this bill swiftly,” Schumer said. “And I call on speaker Johnson to rise to the occasion to do the right thing.”

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