The Senate passed a massive foreign aid bill to Ukraine and Israel without border security measures after Republican turmoil ultimately tanked a bipartisan deal last week.
The sprawling $95 billion bill captured the necessary 60 senators needed to send the legislation to the House Tuesday morning after a rare all-night session ending in a 70-29 vote, but it faces an uncertain fate in the House.
In total, the package includes $61 billion for Ukraine, $14 billion for Israel in its war against Hamas and $4.83 billion to support partners in the Indo-Pacific, including Taiwan, to deter aggression by China.
It also would provide $9.15 billion in humanitarian assistance to civilians in Gaza and the West Bank, Ukraine and other conflict zones around the globe.
Speaker Mike Johnson called it ‘insufficient’ without border security measure in a late night statement Monday and said the Senate has ‘failed to meet the moment.’
‘Now, in the absence of having received any single border policy change from the Senate, the House will have to continue to work its own will on these important matters,’ Johnson continued. ‘America deserves better than the Senate’s status quo.’
Sen. Josh Hawley , R-Mo., blamed Mitch McConnell for the dysfunction as other Republicans floated ousting the longtime leader.
Last week, Republicans tanked a bipartisan $118 billion bipartisan deal to beef up border security while funding Ukraine and Israel. They accused it of not going far enough to secure the border and said it would cement Biden’s ‘open border’ policies.
It wasn’t easy to get Senate Republicans onboard with the thinner $95 billion deal without immigration measures as tempers flied over the tanked border deal.
But ultimately, over a dozen Republicans voted to pass the bill with Democrats because of the fear that Russian President Putin would be emboldened.
The vote Tuesday morning had the support of 22 Republicans. However, two Democrats, Sens. Jeff Merkley of Oregon and Peter Welch of Vermont, and Independent Sen. Bernie Sanders, voted against it.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer cheered the passing saying it’s been ‘years, perhaps decades’ that the body accomplished such a massive feat.
‘It’s been years, perhaps decades, since the Senate has passed a bill that so greatly impacts not just our national security, not just the security of our allies, but also the security of western democracy,’ the top Democrat said.
On Monday, Senator J.D. Vance, R-Ohio, who is vehemently opposed to the bill, made a last-ditch attempt to get Republicans to vote ‘no’ in a memo to all GOP lawmakers in the House and Senate.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) lambasted Republicans for backing away from a border compromise that also included aid for Ukraine and Israel
He warned about a ‘hidden impeachment clause’ buried the foreign aid package that he says could backfire on Donald Trump if he’s elected.
And last week, the GOP was largely divided on whether they would vote for the bill.
Sen. John Thune, R-N.D., reportedly told his GOP colleagues they ‘need to stop being p****** and just vote,’ because the issue isn’t going away and U.S. allies need help.
Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Mo., blamed Mitch McConnell for the dysfunction as other Republicans including Ted Cruz and Mike Lee called for ousting the longtime leader.
Ukraine’s war with Russia has spanned over two years
‘McConnell’s problem is he doesn’t talk to his members. He doesn’t listen to his members. He doesn’t talk to his members. He’s so focused on Zelensky. He’s got bigger problems than Zelensky.’
Sen. Lindsey Graham said he would block the bill unless he got an agreement on inserting an amendment on border security.
Democrats blamed former President Donald Trump, who inveighed against the borer deal, for pulling the strings and wrecking the chance of a compromise in an election year.
President Joe Biden ripped congressional Republicans for lacking ‘spine’ after they helped doom the deal that would have included $20 billion in new border enforcement funds.
‘When President Trump came along and said he didn’t want to solve the border problem, that he wanted it as a campaign issue, [House] Speaker Johnson obediently changed his tune, fumed Schumer.
He repeatedly connected the GOP’s opposition to Russian President Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine, which is approaching its two-year anniversary.
The bill will bring up ’emergency’ supplemental appropriations to provide $60 billion to Ukraine, boost support for Israel, and provide additional funds for Taiwan along with reconstruction aid for Gaza.
The U.S. has had to cut military aid to Ukraine after its budget authority ran dry. The two-year anniversary of Russia’s invasion is approaching
A view of houses at the Kibbutz Kfar Aza, after the deadly October 7 attack byIran-backed terrorist group Hamas
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) said he would support a move to a clean bill. He was hammered by conservative MAGA-aligned members of his conference over helping set up the border compromise
‘If America fails to stand with our partners on the front lines in Europe and the Middle East, we will shred our credibility with friends in the Indo-Pacific,’ said Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell during floor remarks where he also blasted Biden for steering clear of Iran’s ‘red lines’ in responding to the drone attack that killed three U.S. troops.
Among those Republicans willing to go along with the new approach is Markwayne Mullin (R-Okla). ‘I’d like to have the border bill on it. But if we can’t pass a border bill, then we still need to do something with Ukraine, Israel and Taiwan,’ he said.
Sen. Thom Tillis (R-Tillis) is also backing the ‘clean’ package without border provisions.
‘Anyone that thinks there will not be a consequence, a negative consequence in history over this vote needs to really study up on history. Which is why I’m going to try to do my part to not be on that dark page of history,’ he said, calling for aid to key U.S. allies.
‘Schumer told members of his caucus and the White House last week that if the Republicans scuttled the bipartisan border and supplemental agreement, he had prepared a plan to use the motion to reconsider to force Republicans to vote on the supplemental without border [reforms],’ a Senate Democratic aide told the Hill.
McConnell said he would support a ‘clean’ package on Ukraine aide. Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas), who was among those trashing the border package, said he would as well.
Such a package would likely be doomed in the Republican-run House, which on Tuesday failed to impeach Homeland Security Sec. Alejandro Mayorkas and failed to pass a package considering only of aid for Israel.
The Senate votes come after Senate conservatives unloaded on the compromise, with some even calling for a leadership change due to McConnell’s role helping push it forward.
Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, who opposed McConnell when he was reelected to his post in 2022, said Tuesday it was time for him to go. ‘I think a Republican leader should actually lead this conference and should advance the priorities of Republicans,’ he said.
McConnell has been a regular target of Trump’s. The two men haven’t spoken since Jan. 6th, even as Trump moves closer and closer to securing his party’s nomination.