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The Senate passes a $95 billion aid package for Ukraine and Israel, setting off a showdown with the House of Representatives

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The US Capitol is seen in Washington, DC on January 10, 2024.

The Senate passed a $95.3 billion foreign aid bill to help Ukraine and Israel in a vote early Tuesday morning, setting off a showdown with the House over Speaker Mike Johnson’s criticism of the bill.

The foreign aid package includes, among other things, billions of dollars to support Ukraine and security assistance to Israel, as well as humanitarian aid to civilians in the Gaza Strip, the West Bank and Ukraine. It’s unclear whether Johnson would vote on it, and many House Republicans oppose further aid to Ukraine.

The bill passed the Senate despite Johnson criticizing the legislation and former President Donald Trump signaling his opposition to the bill by arguing the U.S. should stop providing foreign aid unless it comes in the form of a loan.

The bill includes $60 billion to help Ukraine fight Russia, $14.1 billion in security assistance to Israel, $9.2 billion in humanitarian assistance and $4.8 billion to support regional ones partners in the Indo-Pacific region in addition to other policy provisions, the Senate Budget Committee bill states.

“The House has to find a way forward and do it their way, but we had to get the process started and we did that,” Senate GOP leader John Thune told reporters on Tuesday.

The Senate passed the bill after Republicans blocked a broader bill last week that would have combined foreign aid with a bipartisan border agreement. Republicans had initially called for border security to be part of the bill, but then rejected the bipartisan border deal as Trump and top House Republicans fiercely attacked the measure.

In a statement Monday, Speaker Johnson criticized the foreign aid bill for lacking border provisions and said the Senate “should have gone back to the drawing board to amend the current law to include real border security provisions that would actually help “To end the border regulations.” Johnson had previously spoken out against the broader bill that included border regulations. The speaker described these provisions as inadequate, even though they were the result of cross-party negotiations and included restrictive border measures.

The Senate continued to advance the bill as Trump argued the U.S. should not provide foreign aid unless it was a loan, signaling his opposition to the bill. Trump has also suggested that he would encourage Russian aggression against any NATO member country that doesn’t pay enough.

Several Senate Republicans either defended or downplayed Trump’s NATO comments on Monday.

“I’m behind him 100%,” Sen. Tommy Tuberville said of Trump, saying NATO members should do their part or risk Putin invading their country.

The Alabama Republican also suggested that European allies should be “very concerned” about an invasion, saying they should protect themselves and not rely on the U.S., adding that the country “can’t protect everyone “.

Senator Roger Marshall of Kansas said European allies concerned about Trump’s comments needed to “get over it.”

“You know, they have to get over it. You have to stand up and be tough. We must first secure our own border. We need to take care of things here at home first. If we secure our own border, if we take care of our home, that’s great. Let’s help other people too,” said the Republican from Kansas.

In the Senate, deliberation on the bill dragged on for days, while Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky vowed to delay the timeline in protest of the legislation.

Any individual senator can slow down the process and force the Senate to take time-consuming votes to reach final passage.

Paul continued to weigh in on the matter on Sunday, saying he would hold on until “hell freezes over.” He indicated that he was ready to take the floor and speak out on the national debt and other issues. “I love talking. It’s one of my favorite things to do,” he said.

“We do this for a reason,” Paul said. “I don’t like being here. … I’m here not because it’s fun, but because I don’t think enough people are talking about the danger of debt.”

On Sunday, just hours before the Super Bowl began, the chamber took a crucial vote to advance the package by a score of 67-27.

This story and headline have been updated with additional developments.

CNN’s Kate Sullivan contributed to this report.

Source: amp.cnn.com

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Jennifer Adams

Dedicated news writer with a passion for truth and accuracy. Covering stories that impact lives.

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