US Senate advances $95bn Ukraine, Israel aid bill after failed border deal

As voting continued, senators backed a procedural motion by 62 to 28, exceeding the 60-vote threshold to advance the bill

Reuters
Published : 8 Feb 2024, 06:38 PM
Updated : 8 Feb 2024, 06:38 PM

A $95.34 billion bill that includes aid for Ukraine, Israel and Taiwan, was set to advance in the U.S. Senate on Thursday after Republicans blocked compromise legislation that also included a long-sought overhaul of immigration policy.

As voting continued, senators backed a procedural motion by 62 to 28, exceeding the 60-vote threshold to advance the bill. There was no immediate word on when the 100-member chamber would vote on final passage.

The Democratic-led Senate took up the security aid bill after Republicans on Wednesday blocked a broader measure that also included reforms of border security and immigration policy that a bipartisan group of senators had negotiated for months.

The security aid bill includes $61 billion for Ukraine as it battles a Russian invasion, $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.

Supporters of Ukraine have been struggling for much of the year to find a way to send more money to help Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy's government.

Even if the aid bill eventually passes the Senate, it faces uncertainly in the House of Representatives. Dozens of Republican House members, particularly those most closely allied with former President Donald Trump, have voted against Ukraine aid, including Speaker Mike Johnson.

While lawmakers have approved more than $110 billion for Ukraine since Russia invaded in February 2022, Congress has not passed any major aid for Kyiv since Republicans took control of the House in January 2023.