Sunday, February 25, 2024
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Senate slowly forges ahead on foreign aid bill


Washington — A $95 billion aid package for Ukraine, Israel and the Indo-Pacific region could come before the House early next week after months of setbacks in the Senate.

The Senate voted 64-19 Friday night to formally begin debate on additional foreign aid and is expected to work through the weekend after some Republicans demanded the legislation include border security provisions, while others were adamantly opposed.

The procedural vote provides for several days of debate and additional votes that are likely to extend into the start of the Senate’s two-week recess, scheduled to begin Monday.

“The Senate will continue to work on this bill until the work is completed,” Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, a New York Democrat, said Friday.

Thursday, the Senate passed his first obstacle to get the supplement across the finish line after the Republicans’ blockade a bipartisan agreement on border security this included foreign aid. The foreign aid portion was later severed from the larger bill, but the Senate delayed a procedural vote to advance the lighter version which was to take place Wednesday evening amid disagreements over how to proceed.

“Yesterday, the Senate cleared the first major procedural hurdle to passing the national security supplemental bill. It was a positive and very important first step,” Schumer said.

But Democrats and Republicans have not yet reached an agreement on amendments that could speed up final passage, Schumer said.

“Democrats are willing to consider reasonable and fair amendments,” he said.

Sen. Rand Paul, a Republican from Kentucky, said he would “oppose anything that would speed up passage of this rotten foreign spending bill.”

If the bill survives remaining controversies and can pass the Senate, it still faces hurdles in the House, where many Republicans are opposed to additional aid to Ukraine.

House Speaker Mike Johnson, a Louisiana Republican, was evasive Wednesday about the bill’s future in the lower chamber.

“We’re letting the process play out and we’ll manage it as it goes through,” Johnson told reporters.

House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries indicated Thursday that Democrats could try to force a vote on the foreign aid bill. Democrats could use a procedural step known as a discharge petition to bypass House Republican leadership, but it would require a handful of Republicans to sign on to give Democrats the required 218 signatures. A discharge petition allows lawmakers to force a vote in the House, but it can take days or weeks to bring the measure to a vote.

“House Democrats are prepared to use every legislative tool available to ensure we get comprehensive national security legislation to the finish line,” the New York Democrat said in a statement .



Note: The content and images used in this article is rewritten and sourced from www.cbsnews.com

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