$95B Foreign Aid Package Passes Senate 79-18

'Very few things we have done have risen to this level of historic importance,' Schumer says
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Apr 23, 2024 7:59 PM CDT
Updated Apr 23, 2024 9:03 PM CDT
Aid for Ukraine, Israel, Taiwan Advances in Senate
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer arrives at the Capitol as the Senate prepares to advance the $95 billion aid package for Ukraine, Israel, and Taiwan.   (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

This story has been updated with new developments. The Senate has passed $95 billion in war aid to Ukraine, Israel and Taiwan, sending the legislation to President Biden after months of delays and contentious debate over how involved the United States should be in foreign wars. The bill passed the Senate on an overwhelming 79-18 vote late Tuesday, the AP reports. Biden, who worked with congressional leaders to win support, is expected to quickly sign the legislation and start the process of sending weapons to Ukraine, which has been struggling to hold its front lines against Russia. The legislation would also send $26 billion in wartime assistance to Israel and humanitarian relief to citizens of Gaza, and $8 billion to counter Chinese threats in Taiwan and the Indo-Pacific.

Earlier Tuesday, a vote to end a filibuster drew the support of 80 senators—10 more than supported the bill when the Senate first passed it in February. Opening the Senate Tuesday morning, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said the coming vote was "six months in the making." "Let us not keep our friends around the world waiting for a moment longer," he said. Biden told Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on Monday the US will send badly needed air defense weaponry as soon as the legislation is passed. The House approved the package Saturday in a series of four votes, sending it back to the Senate for final approval.

In an interview with the AP shortly before the vote, Schumer said that if Congress hadn't passed the aid, "America would have paid a price economically, politically, militarily." "Very few things we have done have risen to this level of historic importance," he said. Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell said it "is one of the biggest days in the time that I've been here." "At least on this episode, I think we turned the tables on the isolationists," he said. In an effort to gain more votes, Republicans in the House majority also added a bill to the package that could ban the social media app TikTok in the US if its Chinese owners do not sell their stake within a year.

(More Russia-Ukraine war stories.)

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