Senate passes $95B foreign aid package for Ukraine, Israel and Taiwan: What's next?

Senate passes $95B foreign aid package for Ukraine, Israel and Taiwan: What's next?

Senate Passes $95 Billion Foreign Aid Package

Senate Passes $95 Billion Foreign Aid Package

The Senate on Tuesday night passed a package to deliver $95 billion in foreign aid to Ukraine, Israel and Taiwan -- a bipartisan win months in the making.

The package was approved 79-18.

Thirty-one Republicans joined with 48 Democrats to pass the legislation. That's nine more Republicans than supported the aid package when the Senate last considered it in February.

Two Democrats -- Sens. Merkley and Welch -- as well as independent Sen. Bernie Sanders voted against the legislation along with 15 Republicans.

The legislation, which includes four bills that passed in the House over the weekend with bipartisan support. The package now heads to President Joe Biden's desk where he said in a statement he expects to sign tomorrow.

"[A] bipartisan majority in the Senate joined the House to answer history’s call at this critical inflection point," Biden said in a statement. "Congress has passed my legislation to strengthen our national security and send a message to the world about the power of American leadership: we stand resolutely for democracy and freedom, and against tyranny and oppression.

"I will sign this bill into law and address the American people as soon as it reaches my desk tomorrow so we can begin sending weapons and equipment to Ukraine this week," his statement continued. "The need is urgent: for Ukraine, facing unrelenting bombardment from Russia; for Israel, which just faced unprecedented attacks from Iran; for refugees and those impacted by conflicts and natural disasters around the world, including in Gaza, Sudan, and Haiti; and for our partners seeking security and stability in the Indo-Pacific. I want to thank Leader Schumer, Leader McConnell, and all of the bipartisan lawmakers in the Senate who voted for this bill. This critical legislation will make our nation and world more secure as we support our friends who are defending themselves against terrorists like Hamas and tyrants like Putin."

The package provides roughly $26 billion for Israel, currently at war with Hamas in Gaza; as well as $61 billion for Ukraine and $8 billion for allies in the Indo-Pacific. A fourth bill would force a U.S. ban of TikTok if its Chinese parent company doesn't sell it; impose sanctions on Russia, China and Iran; and seize Russian assets to help Ukraine rebuild from the war's damage.

"A lot of people inside and outside the Congress wanted this package to fail. But today, those in Congress who stand on the side of democracy are winning the day," Schumer said after the Senate voted to pass procedural votes on Tuesday afternoon. "To our friends in Ukraine, to our allies in NATO, to our allies in Israel, and to civilians around the world in need of help -- help is on the way."

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, during a fulsome press conference after the procedural vote, said he believes his party is beginning to beat back the trends of isolationism he has fought against. He conceded that the isolationist streak in his party is not gone, but he said he believes progress has been made.

"If you're looking for a trend I think it's a trend in the direction that I would like to see us go, which is America steps up to its leadership role in the world and does what it needs to do," McConnell said.

He counted the groundswell of GOP support a win.

"I think we've turned the corner on this argument," he said, adding, "I think we've turned the corner on the isolationist movement. I've noticed how uncomfortable proponents of that are when you call them isolationists. I think we've made some progress and I think it's going to have to continue."

Schumer applauded the bipartisan approach to pass this legislation -- including his work with McConnell.

"Leader McConnell and I, who don't always agree, worked hand-in-hand and shoulder-to-shoulder to get this bill done. Together we were bipartisan and persistent," Schumer said.

What's Next?

Congress' passage helps provide aid to ally countries -- including Ukraine, which can't win its fight against Russia without the funding, America's top general in Europe said earlier this month.

"They are now being out shot by the Russian side five to one. So Russians fire five times as many artillery shells at the Ukrainians then the Ukrainians are able to fire back," U.S. European Command's Gen. Christopher Cavoli told the House Armed Services Committee. "That will immediately go to 10 to one in a matter of weeks. We're not talking about months." The outcome of the war could hang in the balance, according to Cavoli.

"The severity of this moment cannot be overstated. If we do not continue to support Ukraine, Ukraine could lose," he said.

In anticipation of the bill passing, the Biden administration has worked up a roughly $1 billion military assistance package for Ukraine with the first shipment arriving within days of approval, a U.S. official told ABC News on Tuesday.

The package will include desperately needed artillery rounds, air defense ammunition and armored vehicles, according to the official. The weapons and equipment will be drawn from existing U.S. stockpiles under presidential drawdown authority (PDA).

It has been more than a year since Congress approved new aid for Ukraine in its fight against Russian invaders. The war has intensified in recent weeks, as more Russian strikes break through with Ukraine's air defenses running low.

President Biden spoke with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy on Monday to reiterate U.S. support for the nation. Zelenskyy said he was "grateful" to Biden "for his unwavering support for Ukraine and for his true global leadership."

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