Senate Votes to Advance $95.3 Billion Foreign Aid Package
In a crucial and closely watched vote on Thursday, the US Senate advanced a $95.3 billion foreign aid package that provides assistance to Israel and Ukraine. The bill, which includes billions of dollars in support to Ukraine and Israel, as well as humanitarian aid for civilians in Gaza, the West Bank, and Ukraine, has moved one step closer to final approval. The aid package is still set to face obstacles and delays as senators work to agree on a timetable for its passage.
The vote on Thursday saw 67 senators in favor and 32 against, signaling a bipartisan push to advance the crucial foreign aid package. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer called it “a good first step,” highlighting the potential consequences of not passing the bill. “Not passing this bill would only embolden autocrats like Putin… who want nothing more than the decline of the United States,” he stated.
However, the path to final approval is expected to be arduous. Republican Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky, a long-time opponent of foreign aid, has expressed his opposition to rushing the process, indicating potential roadblocks in the bill’s progress.
The aid package includes $60 billion to support Ukraine in its fight against Russia, $14.1 billion in security assistance for Israel, and $9.2 billion in humanitarian aid. Additionally, $4.8 billion is allocated to support regional partners in the Indo-Pacific region, among other provisions, according to the Senate Appropriations Committee.
The bill will now move to the House of Representatives if it ultimately passes the Senate, where it is uncertain when or if House Speaker Mike Johnson would schedule a vote on it. Despite the upcoming recess for senators next week, Schumer emphasized that the Senate will continue working on the project “until the work is done.”
The passage of the foreign aid package is seen as critical in providing support to allies and addressing humanitarian crises, but the divisive nature of foreign aid in Congress is likely to continue to pose challenges to its approval.