The US Senate voted today to begin work on a war funding package for Ukraine, Israel and other US allies, but doubts remain over Republican support.
The Republican bench had already rejected a carefully negotiated compromise settlement that included policies to strengthen border controls.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, Democrat of New York, called the recent vote “a good first step” and pledged that the upper house of the US Congress “will continue to work on this bill – until the job is done”.
The course of the diploma's implementation remained uncertain, as Senate leaders did not reach agreement on a process to shorten the time frame for debating its content. So it could take only a few days for the Senate to reach a final vote, but it could take much longer.
The vote to begin work on the new package was approved 67 in favor and 32 against, with 17 Republicans joining Democrats in voting for progress. Senator Bernie Sanders, a Vermont independent who opposes more aid to Israel, voted against it.
Schumer is trying to “save” $60 billion in aid to Ukraine, as well as $35 billion for Israel, other allies and national security priorities, after a bipartisan deal to pass that package collapsed this week. The borders of the country should be strengthened.
Republicans are divided on how to proceed, and GOP leaders are still trying to find a plan their senators can support.
Senate GOP Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky tried to find a way to get aid to Ukraine through the House of Representatives.
If the measure passes the Senate, approval is expected to be even more difficult in the Republican-controlled lower house of Congress, where President Mike Johnson of Louisiana has not taken a stand in favor of aid.
Some Senate Republicans have vowed to do everything they can to delay final action.
“I will oppose anything that accelerates the passage of this rotten foreign spending bill,” Republican Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky wrote on social network X (formerly Twitter).
The US is already running out of money to send missiles and munitions to Kiev as the nearly two-year-old war is at a critical juncture.
Ukraine's supporters say waning U.S. support is already being felt on the battlefield and among civilians, while Russia has renewed its commitment to invasion with relentless attacks.
Senate negotiators took nearly three months of nonstop work to craft a border strengthening proposal rejected by Republican senators — some of whom announced their opposition within minutes of the bill's text being released.
As the deal failed, Schumer decided to create a $95 billion package by removing border provisions from the diploma.
The package would allocate $14 billion in military aid to Israel, invest in the national security sector, fund allies in Asia and allocate $10 billion for humanitarian aid in Ukraine, Israel, the Gaza Strip and elsewhere.
The updated package includes legislation authorizing sanctions and tools to combat money laundering by criminal organizations that traffic fentanyl into the United States.
Another section of the compromise bill on border enforcement that would have provided a long-awaited solution to housing tens of thousands of Afghan refugees was left in the slimmed-down bill.
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