US Senate advances $95 billion for Ukraine, Israel aid bill after border deal collapses By Reuters

©Reuters. The U.S. Capitol is seen in Washington, U.S., December 18, 2023. REUTERS/Elizabeth Frantz

By Patricia Zengerle, Richard Cowan and Makini Brice

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A $95.34 billion bill that includes aid for Ukraine, Israel and Taiwan was introduced in the U.S. Senate on Thursday after Republicans blocked compromise legislation that included a long-running overhaul wanted of immigration policy.

Senators supported a procedural motion by a vote of 67 to 32, exceeding the 60-vote threshold to advance the bill. Seventeen Republicans voted in favor.

“This is a good first step. This bill is essential for our national security, for the security of our friends in Ukraine, in Israel, for humanitarian aid to innocent civilians in Gaza and for Taiwan,” Schumer told the Senate after the vote.

There was no immediate word on when the 100-member chamber would consider final passage.

The Democratic-led Senate passed the security relief bill after Republicans on Wednesday blocked a broader measure that also included border security and immigration policy reforms that a bipartisan group of senators had been negotiating for months.

The security aid bill includes $61 billion for Ukraine as it fights the Russian invasion, $14 billion for Israel in its war against Hamas and $4.83 billion to support partners in Indo- Pacific, including Taiwan, and deter aggression by China.

Ukraine supporters have struggled for much of the past year to find a way to send more money to help the government of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy.

Even if the relief bill ultimately passes the Senate, it would face uncertainty in the House of Representatives. Dozens of Republican House members, particularly those most closely allied with former President Donald Trump, voted against aid to Ukraine, including President Mike Johnson.

While lawmakers have approved more than $110 billion for Ukraine since Russia invaded the country in February 2022, Congress has not approved any major aid for Kiev since Republicans took control of the House in January 2023 .

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