Senate Passes $95.3 Billion Aid Package for Israel and Ukraine

News & Politics

The Senate passed a $95.3 billion foreign aid package on Tuesday with no funding for border security. 

The bill would give $60 billion to Ukraine, $14 billion to Israel, $9 billion in humanitarian assistance for Gaza, and nearly $5 billion for the Indo-Pacific, including Taiwan. But House Republicans, who had demanded that the immigration bill they passed last spring be included in the Senate bill, will oppose the funding, according to Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.).

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“[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 wrote. “America deserves better than the Senate’s status quo.”

The Senate did, indeed, pass a bipartisan bill on border security, but Donald Trump didn’t like the idea of losing the chaos at the border as a political club to beat Joe Biden over the head. Johnson didn’t even bother to bring the bill to the floor.

Johnson hinted that he won’t bring the aid bill to the House floor either.

“House Republicans were crystal clear from the very beginning of discussions that any so-called national security supplemental legislation must recognize that national security begins at our own border. The House acted ten months ago to help enact transformative policy change by passing the Secure Our Border Act, and since then, including today, the Senate has failed to meet the moment,” Johnson said.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy was grateful for the Senate vote, thanking Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), and “every U.S. Senator who has supported continued assistance to Ukraine as we fight for freedom, democracy, and the values we all hold dear.”

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“For us in Ukraine, continued US assistance helps to save human lives from Russian terror. It means that life will continue in our cities and will triumph over war,” Zelenskyy said on X. 

“American assistance brings just peace in Ukraine closer and restores global stability, resulting in increased security and prosperity for all Americans and all the free world,” he added.

President Joe Biden was suitably pleased. 

“I applaud the bipartisan coalition of Senators who came together to advance this agreement, and I urge the House to move on this with urgency. We cannot afford to wait any longer,” Biden said in a statement Tuesday. “The costs of inaction are rising every day, especially in Ukraine. Already, we are seeing reports of Ukrainian troops running out of ammunition on the front lines as Russian forces continue to attack and Putin continues to dream of subjugating the Ukrainian people.”

Johnson knows that Trump has his back on the funding bill, so he’s going to draw out the process by getting the House to fashion its own bills on funding Israel, funding Ukraine, and funding Taiwan. Obviously, this doesn’t please McConnell.

“I know it’s become quite fashionable in some circles to disregard the global interests we have as a global power, to bemoan the responsibilities of global leadership,” McConnell said on the floor. “To lament the commitment that has underpinned the longest drought of great power conflict in human history — this is idle work for idle minds, and it has no place in the United States Senate.”

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The real argument is as McConnell has framed it. Does the U.S. want to remain the primary global power in the world, or do we step aside and allow China the privilege? The U.S. had no choice in February 2022 but to come to Ukraine’s assistance against an unprovoked Russian invasion — not if the U.S. wanted to remain a global superpower. The same will be true when China invades Taiwan and Russia invades another East European country.

History tapped the U.S. on the shoulder in 1945 and said, “You’re it.” If we’re going to continue to play the game, we have to continue to meet the military challenges from Russia, China, and all potential enemies. So far in Ukraine and Israel, few American lives have been risked and lost. If that changes — and given Joe Biden’s incompetence, it might — then we should rethink our commitment to both countries.

If you’re advocating for the U.S. to give up world leadership, it should be understood how very different the world will be and the fantastic danger the U.S. would be placed in. Withholding funding for Ukraine is more than political posturing. It’s the independent survival of a nation that’s at war with a delusional bully. 

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We can demand accountability of tax dollars. We can pressure Ukraine on corruption. But it’s a vital U.S. interest to help Ukraine defend itself and maintain its independence.

If Ukraine loses, the U.S. loses. It really is that simple.

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