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U.S. Senate advances $95 billion Ukraine, Israel and Taiwan aid bill

02/09/2024 03:12 PM
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The U.S. Capitol. CNA file photo
The U.S. Capitol. CNA file photo

Washington, Feb. 8 (CNA) The United States Senate voted Thursday to advance a bill covering US$95.34 billion in aid to Ukraine, Israel, and Taiwan and humanitarian aid, setting up a final vote on the package.

The security aid bill includes US$4.83 billion to assist U.S. allies in the Indo-pacific, including Taiwan, alongside US$61 billion for Ukraine in its war with Russia and US$14 billion for Israel in its conflict against Hamas.

Needing 60 votes to beat a filibuster, the Senate advanced the measure by a 67-32 margin that included the support of 17 Republicans.

"It's a very good thing that the Senate has just voted to proceed to the National Security Supplemental," Democratic Senate majority leader Chuck Schumer said after the vote.

"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 for innocent civilians in Gaza, and for Taiwan."

Failure to pass the bill, Schumer said, would "only embolden autocrats like [Vladimir] Putin and Xi [Jinping] who want nothing more than America's decline."

A final version of the bill continues to be negotiated, however, with Republicans divided over the measure, and senators of both parties looking to push through amendments, including potentially on border security.

"We are going to keep working on this bill until the job is done," Schumer said.

The security aid bill voted on Thursday attracted Republican support only after Democrats removed border control and immigration measures from the proposed bill.

On Wednesday, a majority of Republicans shot down a bipartisan US$118 billion bill that had been negotiated for months and covered both aid for Ukraine, Israel and Indo-Pacific nations as well as measures to tighten security at the U.S. border with Mexico.

Even if the bill eventually passes the Democrat-led Senate, it has an uncertain future because it may have trouble getting support from enough Republicans in the Republican-controlled House of Representatives.

(By Chiang Chin-yeh and James Lo)

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