US Senate moves towards passage of Ukraine aid Bill

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WASHINGTON - The Democratic-led US Senate on Feb 12 set the stage for final passage of a US$95.34 billion (S$128 billion) aid package for Ukraine, Israel and Taiwan, amid growing doubts about the fate of the legislation in the Republican-controlled House of Representatives.

The Senate voted 66-33, exceeding a 60-vote margin, to sweep aside the last procedural hurdle and limit debate on the measure to a final 30 hours before a vote on passage that could come on Wednesday.

But things could move more quickly. Republican opponents of the legislation were due to speak against it on the Senate overnight, aides said. Such a move that could enable Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer to move for final passage Tuesday morning.

Passage would only send the legislation on to the House, where Speaker Mike Johnson said his Republican majority wanted the legislation to include conservative provisions to address the flow of migrants across the US-Mexico border.

“In the absence of having received any single border policy change from the Senate, the House will have to continue to work its own will on these important matters,” Mr Johnson said in a statement issued just before the Senate started voting.

“America deserves better than the Senate’s status quo,” said Mr Johnson, who has suggested in the past that the House could split the legislation into separate Bills.

Republicans had insisted that any additional aid to Israel and Ukraine must also address the high numbers of migrants arriving at the US-Mexico border.

Democratic President Joe Biden has been urging Congress to hurry new aid to Ukraine and US partners in the Indo-Pacific, including Taiwan, for months. After Hamas’ Oct 7 attack on Israel he also requested funds for the US ally, along with humanitarian aid for Palestinians in Gaza.

Ukrainian officials have warned of weapons shortages at a time when Russia is pressing ahead with renewed attacks.

But to become law the Bill must pass the House as well as the Senate, and the House has not passed any major aid for Ukraine since Republicans took control of the chamber in January 2023.

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For months, Republicans had insisted that any additional aid to Israel and Ukraine must also address the high numbers of migrants arriving at the US-Mexico border.

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