Finally, Senate Approves Billions in Aid for Ukraine, Israel, and Taiwan After Prolonged Delays

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The U.S. Senate finally approved a sweeping aid package for Ukraine, Israel, and Taiwan, which is now on President Joe Biden’s desk after months of delays that officials blamed for Ukrainian casualties on the battlefield.

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The Senate approved the aid package with a strong bipartisan vote of 79-18, with many conservatives opposing the Ukraine section of the bill. The legislation also included a related bill aimed at potentially banning the Chinese-owned TikTok app. The bill was passed late on Tuesday, with 15 Republican senators and three members of the Senate Democratic caucus voting against it.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) stated, “America will never shrink from its responsibility as a leader on the world stage.” Meanwhile, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, a staunch supporter of Ukraine, reiterated America’s role in global leadership. In a speech, he said that the Senate’s firm stance showed the U.S. was committed to its allies.

President Biden announced he would sign the legislation without delay, saying, “Tonight, a bipartisan majority in the Senate joined the House to answer history’s call at this critical inflection point.” The aid package, he said, sends a message to the world about the strength of American leadership.

The Senate had approved a similar aid package back in February, but disagreement between the Republican-majority House and the Senate caused delays. The House attempted to address border security and asylum process legislation, but ultimately broke the aid package into several pieces. As a result, experts warned that Ukraine was running out of resources to defend against Russia’s continued missile and drone attacks following its 2022 invasion.

Senator Mitt Romney, a centrist Republican, commented on the slow progress, pointing to the slow pace of legislation in a democracy. He explained, “Things don’t move quickly.” He also highlighted that the final vote reflected a clear consensus in favor of the aid package. On the other hand, Democrat Chris Murphy criticized former President Donald Trump for his alleged opposition to funding for Ukraine, pointing to Trump’s support for Vladimir Putin.

The comprehensive foreign aid package includes three primary components: aid for Ukraine, Israel, and Indo-Pacific allies like Taiwan. The Ukrainian portion is the largest, with $60.8 billion earmarked for air defenses and other military support, including $23 billion to replenish U.S. stockpiles and another $11 billion to support U.S. operations in Eastern Europe.

The Israeli portion, worth $26.38 billion, is focused on restocking munitions and providing defense systems. It includes $4 billion for the Iron Dome defensive grid and $1.2 billion for Iron Beam, a ground-based laser system. However, some Democrats expressed disappointment over the lack of amendments to hold Israel accountable for civilian casualties during the Gaza conflict.

Lastly, the Indo-Pacific aid package focuses on supporting allies like Taiwan and the Philippines with $8.12 billion, with a substantial portion going to construct submarine port infrastructure and strengthen U.S. military presence in the region. This segment also addresses TikTok’s parent company, ByteDance, requiring divestment or a potential ban.

Senator Thom Tillis expressed frustration with the six-month delay, stating that it reduced the impact of the funds. Outside the Senate, demonstrators held Ukrainian flags, remaining until the vote’s conclusion.

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