Senate inches toward final passage of foreign aid bill after weekend work

Clare Foran, CNN | 2/12/2024, 8:10 a.m.
The Senate is inching closer to final passage of a $95.3 billion foreign aid bill with assistance for Ukraine and ...
The US Capitol Building is seen on January 10 in Washington, DC. The Senate is inching closer to final passage of a $95.3 billion foreign aid bill with assistance for Ukraine and Israel. Mandatory Credit: Samuel Corum/Getty Images

The Senate is inching closer to final passage of a $95.3 billion foreign aid bill with assistance for Ukraine and Israel after working through the weekend to make progress on the package.

It is still not clear when a final passage vote will take place, but it is expected at some point this week absent a time agreement.

If the bill is eventually passed by the Senate, it would next go to the House, where it faces an uncertain fate. It’s unclear when or if Speaker Mike Johnson would hold a vote on it, as many House Republicans are opposed to further aid to Ukraine.

In the Senate, consideration of the bill has dragged out over the course of multiple days. There is still no time agreement to speed up passage of the bill as Sen. Rand Paul has vowed to drag out the timeline in protest over the legislation.

Any one senator can slow down the process and force the Senate to take time-consuming votes to arrive at final passage.

Paul continued to dig in on Sunday, saying that he will hold out until “hell freezes over.” He indicated he is ready to hold the floor by speaking on the issue of national debt and other matters. “I love to talk. That’s one of my favorite things to do,” he said.

“We do this for a purpose,” Paul said. “I don’t like being here … I’m not here because it’s fun, I’m here because I don’t think enough people are talking about the danger of the debt.”

On Sunday, just hours before the start of the Super Bowl, the chamber took a key vote to move the package forward by a tally of 67 to 27.

There are expected to be two more procedural votes Monday evening.

The foreign aid package includes billions of dollars to support Ukraine and for security assistance for Israel, as well as humanitarian assistance for civilians in Gaza, the West Bank and Ukraine.

The bill includes $60 billion to support Ukraine in its fight against Russia, $14.1 billion in security assistance for Israel, $9.2 billion in humanitarian assistance and $4.8 billion to support regional partners in the Indo-Pacific region, among other provisions, according to the Senate Appropriations Committee.

Lawmakers are moving forward with the foreign aid bill after Republicans blocked a broader bill that would have combined the foreign aid with a bipartisan border deal. Republicans had initially demanded that border security be part of the bill, but went on to reject the bipartisan deal amid forceful attacks on the measure by former President Donald Trump and top House Republicans.

Over the weekend, Trump also wrote on Truth Social that the US should stop providing foreign aid unless it is structured as a loan, another sign of the political pressure Republicans continue to face amid efforts to send funding to US allies.