The U.S. Senate advanced a foreign aid package without border security provisions one day after rejecting the bipartisan border deal.
The package would provide tens of billions of dollars to Ukraine, Israel, Taiwan, and Gaza.
In a 67-32 vote, the chamber can begin considering the $95 billion package.
17 Republicans joined Democrats in favor of advancing the foreign aid.
— The Post Millennial (@TPostMillennial) February 8, 2024
Read the 17 Republicans who voted in favor of the package below:
🚨Just in: Here are the 17 Senate Republicans who voted for the Ukraine passage without having any funding for border security👇
— The Calvin Coolidge Project (@TheCalvinCooli1) February 8, 2024
“The Republican senators who supported advancing the legislation were: GOP Leader Mitch McConnell, Senate Minority Whip John Thune of South Dakota, Bill Cassidy of Louisiana, Susan Collins of Maine, Joni Ernst of Iowa, John Kennedy of Louisiana, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, Mitt Romney of Utah, Dan Sullivan of Alaska, Roger Wicker of Mississippi, Todd Young of Indiana, Thom Tillis of North Carolina, Mike Rounds of South Dakota, John Cornyn of Texas, Chuck Grassley of Iowa, Shelley Moore Capito of West Virginia and Jerry Moran of Kansas,” POLITICO reports.
“This is a good first step. This bill is essential for our national security,” Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) commented.
“Failure to pass this bill would only embolden autocrats like Putin and Xi, who want nothing more than America’s decline. Now that we are on the bill, we hope to reach an amendment with our Republican colleagues on amendments,” he added.
Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) voted against the foreign aid package, citing the “horrific war against the Palestinian people.”
Sanders was the lone non-Republican to reject the package.
Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) voiced opposition to the bill and vowed to prevent the Senate from speeding up it’s advancement.
Senate votes 67-32 to advance Ukraine and Israel funding but without border security reform.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer says senators now need to negotiate amendment votes and declares "we will keep working on this bill until the job is done," which means weekend work
— Alex Bolton (@alexanderbolton) February 8, 2024
NBC News reports:
Sen. Mike Rounds, R-S.D., who voted to proceed with the bill after opposing it on Wednesday, said Republicans discussed trying to add border amendments to the new deal, “but clearly on our side of the aisle there’s a lot of people that feel that the former president’s comments meant that he really didn’t want to see something like that at this time. And that’s held a huge amount of weight on our side.”
Some senators indicated that the chamber could stay over the weekend to finish it. And Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., has vowed to prevent the Senate from speeding up the process, which would require unanimous consent from all 100 senators.
“You got to bring it to a conclusion and then we as a conference will have to own the outcome if we choose to halt it,” Sen. Thom Tillis, R-N.C., said. “I think Schumer would be right to keep us here until we dispose of it. These people say we need to cool off or take a few weeks off — I don’t get that.”Advertisement
The current effort could be the last chance to approve aid to Ukraine in the foreseeable future, a high priority for President Joe Biden that is backed by many lawmakers in Congress but opposed by a large faction of conservatives in both chambers.
BREAKING: The Senate just voted 67-32 in favor of advancing a $95B foreign aid bill for Ukraine, Israel, Gaza, and Taiwan without the border provisions:
Republicans who voted in favor: Murkowski, McConnell, Cassidy, Wicker, Young, Collins, Capito, Kennedy, Thune, Sullivan,…
— Greg Price (@greg_price11) February 8, 2024
The Senate is slated to leave town this weekend for a two-week recess after five straight weeks in session. Multiple members have trips planned abroad or other weekend engagements they’re itching to get to. But there is a growing sense among senators that if they want to ever finish work on the aid bill, they could be subject to multiple rounds of amendment votes over the weekend absent an agreement among 100 senators.
Those votes would likely be subject to a 60-vote threshold, meaning they’d be difficult to pass. if they were adopted, they could change the underlying bill so much that final passage would become more uncertain.
Sen. Thom Tillis (R-N.C.) said leaders should accommodate senators who want to improve the bill and potentially vote for it, rather than opponents who just want failed amendment votes — unless there’s an agreement to speed things up.
Despite almost universally rejecting a bipartisan deal on border policy changes, many GOP senators are still unwilling to advance Ukraine aid unless it’s in exchange for more conservative immigration changes that they would prefer. Sen. James Lankford (R-Okla.), who negotiated that previous bipartisan deal, said Thursday that he’s not yet sure whether he’d vote to advance the bill.
The other option is that the foreign assistance bill fails in the Senate — and the bipartisan priorities of Ukraine and Israel aid along with it. It’s not clear whether Senate leadership would then be willing to break the package up into standalone pieces, which is what House Republican leadership has pushed for some time.