Senate passes aid bill for Israel, Taiwan, Ukraine

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(WASHINGTON) — A bipartisan group of U.S. senators has passed a $95 billion foreign aid bill for Israel, Taiwan and Ukraine, setting up a showdown in the House of Representatives where Republican leaders have resisted such legislation.

The Senate voted 70-29 to approve the bill early Tuesday, with 22 Republican senators supporting the final passage. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., praised the upper chamber of Congress for approving “one of the most historic and consequential bills to have ever passed the Senate.”

“These past few months have been a great test for the U.S. Senate, to see if we could escape the centrifugal pull of partisanship and summon the will to defend Western Democracy when it mattered most,” Schumer said in brief remarks on the floor of the Senate in Washington, D.C. “This morning, the Senate has resoundingly passed the test.”

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., who voted alongside 21 of his GOP colleagues to advance the bill, issued a statement praising the passage as an affirmation “reaffirming a commitment to rebuild and modernize our military, restore our credibility, and give the current Commander-in-Chief, as well as the next, more tools to secure our interest.”

“History settles every account,” McConnell added. “And today, on the value of American leadership and strength, history will record that the Senate did not blink.”

The successful vote in the Senate follows months of wrangling over if and how to approve more overseas funding, with conservatives initially saying U.S. President Joe Biden’s request for that money had to be tied to an overhaul of border and immigration policy.

However, a deal in the Senate that was negotiated between Democrats and Republicans to seriously tighten border security along with the new aid was quickly criticized by some in the GOP as insufficient and weakened by loopholes. Instead, the Senate then moved forward with the current legislation, which removed the immigration provisions.

It’s unclear what fate the bill will face in the lower chamber of Congress, which recently tried and failed to pass stand-alone legislation just to send aid to Israel in its war against Hamas, the Palestinian militant group that rules the neighboring Gaza Strip. House Speaker Mike Johnson, R-La., has suggested the Senate proposal is not likely to get a vote or even be brought up for debate in his chamber.

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