Senate Plods Along on $95 Billion Ukraine-Israel Aid Bill

Senate Plods Along on $95 Billion Ukraine-Israel Aid Bill

Reuters/Leah Millis

The Senate is trudging ahead in its effort to pass a $95.3 billion package of foreign aid and humanitarian assistance. A day after clearing the first big procedural hurdle toward passing the bill, the Senate is set to take the next step to advance the legislation. But passing the bill may still take days as Republican Sen. Rand Paul objects to speeding the process. Senators are expected to work through the weekend before a final vote next week.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said earlier in the day that he hoped to still reach an agreement with Republicans on amendment votes. “Democrats are willing to consider reasonable and fair amendments here on the floor, as we’ve shown on many occasions in the past three years,” Schumer said on the Senate floor. “Nevertheless, the Senate will keep working on this bill until the job is done.”

He said that the next vote would happen around 7 p.m. ET, barring a time agreement with Republicans.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell advocated for the bill Friday, again arguing that additional funding for Ukraine is “an investment in cold, hard U.S. interests” and not charity. “I mean quite literally spending tens of billions of dollars here in America, upgrading our capabilities, creating American manufacturing jobs, and expanding our defense industrial capacity to help us better compete with advanced adversaries,” McConnell said.

He noted that nearly $20 billion of the funding for Ukraine will be spent in the U.S. on replenishing the nation’s arsenal, $15.4 billion will be spent in America on weapons for Ukraine and another $3.5 billion will be spent domestically to expand production capacity. “Overall, even accounting for direct assistance sent to allies like Israel, more than 75% of this legislation is bound for investments right here in America,” McConnell said. “And more than 60% of it goes to the defense industrial base, where increasing capacity is a direct investment in long-term strength abroad and prosperity here at home.”

He added that the Senate bill also requires the president to detail objectives, requirements and metrics for the aid to Ukraine and funds an inspector general to help monitor how U.S. funding is being used.

The bottom line: The Senate looks likely to pass the bill next week, but it’s still unclear whether Speaker Mike Johnson will allow it to come to a floor vote given significant House Republican opposition to providing more aid for Ukraine.