Senate’s $95bn For Ukraine, Israel And Taiwan Faces Uphill Battle In House


he US Senate has approved a $95bn (£75bn) foreign aid package after months of political wrangling, but it faces an uphill battle in the House. While Senate Democrats were in favour of passing the bill, Republicans were divided and previously voted it down.

The package has $60bn for Ukraine, $14bn for Israel’s war against Hamas and $10bn for humanitarian aid in conflict zones, including in Gaza.

But the House of Representatives Speaker suggested he might block it.

The package, which includes more than $8bn for Taiwan and other Indo-Pacific allies, passed the Democratic-controlled Senate by 70 to 29 in a predawn vote on Tuesday.

Twenty-two Republicans, including Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, joined the other side of the aisle to approve the legislation.

The bipartisan support came despite former President Donald Trump’s criticism of the bill for its lack of funding to secure the US-Mexico border.

Speaking on Tuesday afternoon from the White House, President Joe Biden urged House Republicans to pass the measure.

“Supporting this bill is standing up to Putin. Opposing it is playing into Putin’s hands,” Mr Biden said. “History is watching.”

Mr McConnell, a Kentucky senator, said in a statement following the vote: “Today, on the value of American leadership and strength, history will record that the Senate did not blink.”

Ukraine’s leader said he was “grateful” to senators.

“For us in Ukraine, continued US assistance helps to save human lives from Russian terror,” President Volodymyr Zelensky posted on X, formerly Twitter.

The war has broadly reached a stalemate, despite Russian attempts to advance in the eastern Donbas region and Ukrainian attacks in the south.

Officials in Kyiv want more military aid, especially new air defences, after President Vladimir Putin pledged to “intensify” the assault.

But conservative Republicans have objected to sending billions overseas without first tackling the migrant crisis on the southern US frontier.

“Shouldn’t we try to fix our own country first?” Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky said on Monday.

He was one of several Republican opponents who gave speeches in a bid to slow down passage of the measure.

Some left-wing lawmakers, including Democrat Jeff Merkley of Oregon and independent Bernie Sanders of Vermont, also voted against the bill, citing concerns about supporting Israel’s bombing of Gaza.

The aid bill is a stripped-down version of a $118bn package that Senate Republicans voted down last week.

Republicans had initially demanded any foreign aid be tied to more security measures at the southern border.

But after Mr Trump came out against the border provisions, Republicans were divided on the package.

Some lawmakers said border measures could be added back into the current version of the legislation.

Republican House Speaker Mike Johnson suggested in a statement on Monday night the new bill would not pass the Republican-controlled lower chamber of Congress without such provisions

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