US Senate advances aid bill for Ukraine despite Trump opposition

Monday, Feb 12, 2024

WASHINGTON: A narrowly divided US Senate moved closer to passing a $95.34 billion aid package for Ukraine, Israel and Taiwan on Sunday, showing undiminished bipartisanship despite growing opposition from Republican hardliners and Donald Trump.

The Democratic-led Senate cleared the latest procedural hurdle and moved the foreign aid measure further on toward an ultimate vote on passage at some point in the coming days.

The money is viewed as crucial by Kyiv, as it grinds toward the second anniversary of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. But Senate passage would send the bill on to the Republican-controlled House of Representatives, where it faces an uncertain future.

Democratic President Joe Biden, who has been seeking the aid for months, on Friday said Congress would be guilty of “neglect” if it failed to pass the measure.The bill could move more quickly if Democrats and Republicans reach an agreement to fast-track the measure. But no such deal has emerged so far.

The bill 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, and 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.House Speaker Mike Johnson, who has a slim 219-212 Republican majority, has indicated that he could try to split the aid provisions into separate measures once the bill arrives from the Senate.