Senate Passes Massive Aid Bill Despite GOP Resistance

Following a day of grueling debate, the US Senate approved a $95 billion foreign aid package in the early hours of February 13 but there are clear signs that the measure will face difficulting in the Republican-controlled House, CBS News reported.

The aid package, which provides additional funding for Ukraine, Israel, and Taiwan, cleared the Senate in a 70 to 29 vote after the border security funding, blocked by Republicans on February 7, was removed from the bill.

With the border measures removed, Majority Leader Chuck Schumer proposed advancing a pared-down $95 billion package. The slimmed-down measure advanced on February 9 after the Senate voted 64 to 19 to begin debate on the package.

Butting up against an impending Senate recess scheduled to begin on February 12, the Senate worked throughout the weekend to finalize the measure.

Monday’s vote was delayed after a group of conservative senators, led by Kentucky Senator Rand Paul, filibustered Monday’s session by delivering lengthy speeches opposing the measure.

In his talking filibuster, Senator Paul suggested that after the Senate passed the package, the Democrat and Republican leaders would travel to Kyiv and “crack the champagne” to celebrate while letting the “disaster” at the southern border continue.

Ultimately, 22 Senate Republicans joined 46 Democrats to approve the supplemental funding. Another 26 Republicans, along with Democrat Senators Jeff Merkley (OR) and Peter Welch (VT) and Vermont’s Independent Senator Bernie Sanders, voted against the measure.

Majority Leader Schumer celebrated the vote, describing the bill as “one of the most important historic and consequential bills” ever passed by the Senate.

Schumer later told reporters that he planned to speak with House Speaker Mike Johnson to urge him to “step up” and “do the right thing.”

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell who supported the measure said by approving the funding package, the Senate reaffirmed its responsibilities to national security and restored US credibility.

However, the supplemental aid package faces opposition in the Republican-led House. Speaker Johnson said before the Senate vote that if the package did not include any changes to the administration’s border policies, the House would “continue to work its own will on these important matters.”