The vote came after a small group of Republicans protesting $60 billion for Ukraine occupied the Senate floor overnight, using the final hours of the debate to argue that the United States should focus on its own problems before sending more money abroad.
But more than a dozen Republicans voted 70-29 to approve the package, along with nearly all Democrats, arguing that leaving Ukraine could strengthen Russian President Vladimir Putin and threaten national security around the world.
“It has been years, maybe decades, since the Senate has passed a bill that significantly affects not only our national security, the security of our allies, but the security of Western democracies,” said Senate Majority Leader Chuck. Schumer, who worked closely with Republican leader Mitch McConnell on the legislation.
There is a contradiction within the Republican Party itself
The bill’s passage through the Senate was a welcome sign for Ukraine amid severe shortages on the battlefield. However, the package faces a deeply uncertain future in the House of Representatives, where hard-line Republicans aligned with former President Donald Trump — the front-runner for the presidential nomination and opposed to further support for Ukraine — oppose the legislation.
House Speaker Mike Johnson cast renewed doubt on the package in a statement Monday night, clarifying that it could be weeks or months before Congress sends legislation to President Joe Biden’s desk, if at all.
However, the vote was a victory for both Senate leaders. McConnell has made Ukraine his top priority in recent months, standing his ground in the face of significant opposition from his own Republican conference.
Addressing his opponents directly in a floor speech on Sunday, McConnell said the “eyes of the world” were on the US Senate.
“Will we give those who wish to harm us more reason to question our resolve, or will we recommit American forces?” McConnell asked.
The money provided by the law will be used to buy American-made defense equipment, including munitions and air defense systems that officials say are desperately needed when Russia attacks the country. It also includes $8 billion and other aid to the government in Kyiv.
In addition, the legislation would provide $14 billion for Israel’s war with Hamas, $8 billion for Taiwan and partners in the Indo-Pacific to counter China, and $9.2 billion in humanitarian aid for Gaza.
Fraudulent passage of a bipartisan agreement in the Senate
The bill’s passage followed nearly five months of grueling negotiations on a comprehensive bill that would have paired foreign aid with an overhaul of border and asylum policies. Republicans demanded the exchange, arguing that increased immigration to the United States needed to be addressed along with the security of allies.
After the border bill collapsed, the two leaders abandoned the border provisions and proceeded with passing the foreign aid package alone, as Democrats had originally planned.
Although the streamlined foreign aid bill eventually received enough Republican support to pass, many Republican senators who had previously expressed support for Ukraine voted against it. This episode exposed further divisions in the party.
Sen. JD Vance, R-Ohio, argued that the United States should withdraw from the conflict and help negotiate an end to it with Putin. He questioned the wisdom of continuing to bolster Ukraine’s defenses while Putin appeared committed to fighting for years.
Vance, Kentucky Sen. Along with Rand Paul and other opponents, spent several hours on the Senate floor criticizing Aid and complaining about the Senate process. He stuck to his position to delay the final vote, speaking on the floor until morning.
Aid supporters fought back, warning that giving to Russia would be a historic mistake with disastrous consequences. In an unusually crude exchange, Republican senators who support the aid directly challenged some opponents on the floor.
Fierce opposition to Trump and his loyalists in the lower house
Sen. Jerry Moran, R-Kan., acknowledged that the cost of the package was significant to him, but noted that if Putin were to attack a NATO member in Europe, the United States would be bound by the treaty to be directly involved. conflict, a commitment that Trump has called into question as he seeks another term in the White House.
Promoting the slogan, Moran said: “I believe in America first, but unfortunately America means we have to connect the world.”
While most House Republicans have opposed the aid and are unlikely to part ways with Trump, a handful of GOP lawmakers have indicated they will try to pass it.
House Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Turner, R-Ohio, accompanied a bipartisan delegation to Ukraine last week and met with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. Turner posted on X, formerly Twitter, after the trip that he “reaffirmed America’s commitment to support Ukraine in its fight against Russia.”
But President Johnson is in a difficult position. A majority of his conference opposes aid, and he is trying to lead a narrow majority and avoid the fate of his predecessor, former House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, who was impeached in October.