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Senate takes up $95B foreign aid package for Ukraine, Israel and Taiwan

The Senate began consideration Tuesday of a plan to provide $95 billion in foreign aid to Ukraine, Israel and Taiwan.

The bill, which includes four bills, passed the House over the weekend with bipartisan support. President Joe Biden urged the Senate to quickly advance the measures on his desk.

The plan provides about $26 billion for Israel, currently at war with Hamas in Gaza; as well as $61 billion for Ukraine and $8 billion for Indo-Pacific allies. A fourth bill would force the United States to ban TikTok if its Chinese parent company does not sell it; impose sanctions on Russia, China and Iran; and seize Russian assets to help Ukraine rebuild after war damage.

Speaking on the package Tuesday morning, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said “now is the time to finish the job of helping our friends abroad once and for all” and encouraged his colleagues to do so “as quickly as possible”.

“Let’s not delay this. Let’s not prolong this. Let’s not make our friends around the world wait another moment,” Schumer said.

Schumer previously hailed the House’s passage of the bills as a “watershed moment in the defense of democracy” by announcing that the Senate would cut short its recess to hold its first vote Tuesday on moving forward with the proposals. Final adoption of the bills is expected this week.

“To our friends in Ukraine, to our NATO allies, to our allies in Israel, and to civilians around the world who need help: rest assured that America will once again deliver on its promises,” Schumer said in a press release on Saturday.

Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell, who has long supported aid to Ukraine, spoke Tuesday morning about the United States’ “global responsibilities,” including helping Ukraine in its fight against Russia.

“Today, the Senate sits for a test on behalf of the entire nation. It is a test of American resolve. Our preparedness and our willingness to lead. And the stakes of failure are abundantly clear. Failure to help Ukraine resist Russian aggression now means inviting escalation against our closest allies and trading partners,” McConnell said.

McConnell added that the Senate “faces a test. And we must not fail it.”

Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., said he wanted to offer amendments to the bill aimed at cutting off offensive aid to Israel, calling his administration “extremist.”

“As American taxpayers, do we want to be complicit in (Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin) Netanyahu’s savage and unprecedented military campaign against the Palestinian people?” Sanders on Tuesday asked for unconditional help from Israel.

Sanders said he “strongly supports” other elements of the package, including aid to Ukraine.

It’s been more than a year since Congress approved new aid to Ukraine in its fight against Russian invaders. The war has intensified in recent weeks, as new Russian strikes erupt as Ukraine’s air defenses become exhausted.

President Biden spoke with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy on Monday to reiterate U.S. support for the nation. He said the administration would provide further support to Ukraine as soon as the bills pass Congress, with Zelenskyy saying in his own statement: “I have (Biden’s) assurance that he will be quick and powerful and will strengthen our policy”. anti-aircraft, long-range and artillery capabilities.

Zelenskyy said he was “grateful” to Biden “for his unwavering support for Ukraine and for his true global leadership.”

The Ukrainian leader praised House Speaker Mike Johnson – whose position on aid to Ukraine has evolved from demanding changes in border and immigration policy to working with Democrats to pass the latest bills — and House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries, D-N.Y.

Biden first requested more aid for Ukraine, Israel and the Indo-Pacific region last fall. The Senate passed a $95 billion bill in February, but the bill hit a deadlock in the House as a coalition of Republican hardliners opposed the bill. sending more resources abroad without addressing domestic issues like immigration.

At the same time, Republican Party leaders like Johnson have echoed these concerns and pushed for major changes in immigration policy, even as former President Donald Trump opposed a sweeping deal in the Senate aimed at linking foreign aid to such changes and was rejected by conservatives as insufficient.

Then pressure increased on lawmakers to provide aid to foreign allies after Iran’s unprecedented attacks on Israel earlier this month, in retaliation for a strike on an Iranian consular compound in Syria, and as Russian forces continue to make offensive gains.

President Johnson, once opposed to more aid to Ukraine, said last week he was “ready” to play his part on the issue as a threat of ouster looms from his colleagues Republicans Marjorie Taylor Greene, Thomas Massie and Paul Gosar.

Johnson received bipartisan praise for the reversal.

“He tried to do what, you know, the Freedom Caucus wanted him to do. That wasn’t going to work in the Senate or the White House,” said Republican Rep. Michael McCaul, chairman of the Business Committee. foreigners of the House. on ABC’s “This Week” on Sunday. “Ultimately, we were running out of time. Ukraine is about to fall.”

Johnson, McCaul said, “underwent a transformation” on the issue.

ABC News’ Sarah Beth Hensley contributed to this report.

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jack colman

With a penchant for words, jack began writing at an early age. As editor-in-chief of his high school newspaper, he honed his skills telling impactful stories. Smith went on to study journalism at Columbia University, where he graduated top of his class.After interning at the New York Times, jack landed a role as a news writer. Over the past decade, he has covered major events like presidential elections and natural disasters. His ability to craft compelling narratives that capture the human experience has earned him acclaim.Though writing is his passion, jack also enjoys hiking, cooking and reading historical fiction in his free time. With an eye for detail and knack for storytelling, he continues making his mark at the forefront of journalism.
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