Washington- The Senate voted Sunday to advance a foreign aid bill in a rare weekend session that puts the bill on track for a vote on final passage later this week. But efforts to approve the bill are expected to continue in the coming days as some senators seek to slow its progress.
Procedural voting on the $95 billion aid plan for Ukraine, Israel and the Indo-Pacific was 67 in favor to 27 against on Sunday, as work on the bill was set to spill over into the two-week recess of the House which was to begin Monday.
“I can’t remember the last time the Senate was in session on Super Bowl Sunday,” Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said before Sunday’s vote. “But as I’ve said all week, we’re going to continue working on this bill until the job is done.”
The additional funding package requested by the White House has been stalled for months, after Republicans demanded that foreign aid be tied to enhanced border security measures. A long-sought bipartisanwas released last week, then quickly rejected after intervention from former President Donald Trump. And after the House rejected even the idea of moving forward with the additional border security elements in a floor vote last week, Schumer pushed to continue the aid package without the border provisions .
Still, some Senate Republicans had reservations about moving forward with the aid plan without border security provisions, while others rejected the package outright, questioning the path to be followed by legislation. And Senator Rand Paul, a Republican from Kentucky, promised to slow down the work of the bill at every opportunity. Despite this, the House continued its procedural votes on legislation on And .
Sen. Chris Murphy, a Connecticut Democrat and negotiator in the border security negotiations, said Sunday on “Face the Nation” that while it has been “difficult to get Republican votes to support the Ukraine, made very difficult by Donald Trump’s opposition to financing Ukraine”, “He thinks the Senate will achieve this in the coming days.
Schumer noted before Sunday’s vote that Democrats remained hopeful of reaching an amendment agreement with Republicans, which would allow them to speed up the process to reach a vote on final adoption. But he stressed that regardless, “it is essential that we finish work on this bill.”
The New York Democrat argued on the Senate floor before the vote that it had been years since the Senate “considered a stand-alone bill that had such a significant impact not only on our national security, not just on the security of our allies, but on the very security of Western democracy and our ideals.”
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, a Republican from Kentucky, appeared to share the sentiment, saying before the vote that “our partners do not have the luxury of pretending that the world’s most dangerous attackers are anyone’s problem.” ‘another. And neither do we.’
“We do not use American force frivolously,” McConnell added. “We do it because it is in our own self-interest. We equip our friends to take on our common adversaries, so we are less likely to have to spend American lives to defeat them.”
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