The U.S. Senate approved a controversial $95 billion national security supplemental package on Tuesday to support Ukraine, Israel, and the Indo-Pacific region.
Surprisingly, 22 Republicans voted in favor of the package, with a final vote of 70 to 29. Independent Senator Bernie Sanders and Democratic Senators Jeff Merkley and Peter Welch voted against it.
“The supplemental package does not include any border security provisions and comes as the national debt soars above $34 trillion. Calls to offset the spending with cuts elsewhere went unheeded. Several Republicans have spent hours—since the beginning of the weekend—collectively filibustering the package on the Senate floor. Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, committed to filibustering the bill for four hours on Saturday and continued early Tuesday,” Fox News reported.
“The package includes $60 billion for Ukraine, $14 billion for Israel, $9 billion in humanitarian assistance for Gaza, and nearly $5 billion for the Indo-Pacific. Democrats brought the package up for a vote after Republicans had blocked the $118 billion package that also included numerous border and immigration provisions—negotiated by a group of bipartisan senators and Biden officials—last Wednesday,” the outlet added.
Since the start of Ukraine’s conflict with Russia in February 2022, the United States has already given more than $100 billion in aid to the country.
Kentucky GOP Sen. Rand Paul sounded off on the package, saying: “This bill gives the finger to American taxpayers. This bill gives the finger to all of America; this bill is Ukraine first, America last.”
By Monday, several Republican senators were hoping for a breakthrough to get their amendments considered. The majority of the amendments dealt with strict border security measures.
Similar to the House’s immigration bill, H.R. 2, Sen. Ted Cruz, a Republican from Texas, introduced an amendment that would strengthen asylum screenings, hire more border patrol agents, and reinstate the majority of the Trump administration’s restrictions.
Continuing the filibuster, Republican senators Josh Hawley, JD Vance, and Roger Marshall were among the others who spoke against the bill on Monday. Republicans Sens. Thom Tillis and Mitt Romney, among others, pleaded with their colleagues to “delay” no longer and approve the package.
Sen. Jerry Moran, a Republican from Kansas, spoke passionately on the floor in favor of the bill.
“I believe in America first, but unfortunately, America first means we have to engage in the world,” Moran said.
Below are the 22 Senate Republicans who voted in favor of the foreign aid bill:
– John Boozman
– Shelley Moore Capito
– Bill Cassidy
– Susan Collins
– John Cornyn
– Kevin Cramer
– Mike Crapo
– Joni Ernst
– Chuck Grassley
– John Hoeven
– John Kennedy
– Mitch McConnell
– Jerry Moran
– Lisa Murkowski
– James Risch
– Mitt Romney
– Mike Rounds
– Dan Sullivan
– John Thune
– Thom Tillis
– Roger Wicker
– Todd Young
After Republicans blocked the $118 billion package, including numerous border and immigration provisions, on Wednesday, Democrats put the package up for a vote. Republicans had previously threatened to withhold funding for Ukraine until the overburdened southern border was under control.
Upon its unveiling last weekend, the border-foreign aid package faced fierce opposition from conservative Republicans who claimed it would perpetuate catch-and-release policies and normalize historically high levels of illegal immigration. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer had a backup plan when conservatives and some liberal Democrats blocked the bill. The plan was to hold a vote without the border package.
Republican Minority Leader Mitch McConnell faced criticism from fellow members of his party for supporting funding for Ukraine without first securing the border.
“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 on Super Bowl Sunday. “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.”
Schumer claimed on Monday that the foreign aid package is “a down payment for the survival of American values and Western democracy.”
Republicans stalled the White House’s October request for the additional funding package because they wanted more steps to address the unprecedented border crisis, such as tighter restrictions on asylum and fewer releases into the interior. After months of work, the negotiators finally released their text on Sunday.
The failed border package included not only the foreign aid package but also an “emergency border authority” that would require the expulsion of migrants in the manner of Title 42 when the number of migrants exceeds 5,000 per day over a rolling seven-day average.
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Author: Martin Walsh
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