Overnight, the number of Democratic-leaning defections also grew, with Sens. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) and Peter Welch (D-Vt.) all voting against the bill. But the vast majority of the caucus stuck with the bill after failed border security votes last week.
Welch – the last person to oppose the package – spoke after the vote and cited concerns about Israeli aid as the basis for his opposition.
“The inescapable conclusion is that the Netanyahu government is not listening,” Welch said. “It’s difficult not to draw the conclusion from that [Netanyahu’s] The enemy is not only Hamas, but also the Palestinians.”
The vote came after a weekend of delays and an all-night series of speeches between Monday and Tuesday. Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) managed to delay final passage by opposing a timeline for the bill that would have moved it along much more quickly.
After voting and leaving town, senators will now return on February 26, just days away from the first government funding deadline. In the meantime, Johnson has an important decision to make.
Although he initially called for a bipartisan border security component in any aid bill, he finally worked last week to kill the Senate-negotiated product. On Monday, he said, “Until the Senate receives a single border policy change, the House must continue to impose its own will on these important matters.”
Shortly after the package was approved by the Senate, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said he was “grateful” for Schumer and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, as well as the other senators who “supported continued aid to Ukraine.”
“For us in Ukraine, continued US assistance helps save lives from Russian terror,” Zelensky said
said in a post on X. “It means that life goes on in our cities and triumphs over war.”