A bipartisan coalition of senators was poised Monday to push a $95 billion foreign aid package poised for passage, as Republicans bitterly divided over the bill.
Over the past week, 18 Republicans have rallied behind the bill, helping to pass it in the Senate despite fierce opposition from the majority of Republican senators, House Republican leaders and the party’s likely nominee for the House. presidency, Donald J. Trump.
Mr. Trump and his right-wing allies have relentlessly pressured Senate Republicans to drop the legislation, which would spend $60.1 billion in aid to Ukraine to fight a Russian invasion, 14 $1 billion for Israel’s war against Hamas and nearly $10 billion for humanitarian aid to civilians. in conflict zones, including Palestinians in Gaza.
Mr. Trump in particular has railed against the legislation since the start of the campaign. In recent days, he applauded Republican senators for rejecting an earlier version of the bill that included a bipartisan agreement on border security, argued on social media that it was “stupid” for the United States to ‘offering foreign aid instead of loans, and encouraged Russia to “do what it wants” to NATO members who have not spent enough money on their own defense.
But the pressure appears to have backfired, at least partially, in the Senate, where as of Monday, more than a third of Republicans had voted multiple times to advance the aid bill — and their coalition appeared to be holding firm. .
“Overall, this accomplishes the goals we want to achieve, if you want to stop the Russians from killing Americans, push back the CCP and support our ally Israel,” Sen. Bill Cassidy, Republican of Louisiana, said of the bill presented. in a rare weekend session Sunday evening, referencing the Chinese Communist Party. He accused his Republican colleagues of “dishonesty” in how they characterized the legislation. “We in the Senate have a duty to the American people to vote for the honest truth and get things done. »
Many Republicans opposed to the bill say it prioritizes foreign conflicts over the threat a mass influx of migrants poses to the United States. This is despite their vote last week to reject a version of the legislation that would have also strengthened border control by restricting asylum laws, increasing detention capacity and speeding up expulsions.
“We have not had a serious debate about fixing a broken border,” Sen. Lindsey Graham, Republican of South Carolina, said Sunday. Mr Graham said he planned to vote against the bill – and skip a conference with European allies this week in favor of a trip to the southwest border.
“You can tell our friends and allies I want to help them, but we have a national security nightmare in our own backyard,” Graham added.
Other Republican opponents argued that it would be foolish to send Ukraine the tens of billions of dollars included in the bill — and that it would undermine Mr. Trump’s ability to withhold aid to kyiv in the future if he wins the elections.
“The supplement represents an attempt by the foreign policy blob/deep state to prevent President Trump from pursuing the policies he wants,” Sen. JD Vance, Republican of Ohio, wrote in a note addressed to his colleagues. He added that Democrats were trying to “provide reasons to impeach him and undermine his administration.”
Democrats warned Republicans that voting against the foreign aid bill would only help Russia crush Ukraine on the battlefield and come back to haunt them.
“The whole world will remember what the Senate does in the coming days,” said Senator Chuck Schumer, Democrat of New York and majority leader, on site. “If some people think that Putin will stop at Ukraine, if they think that it is better to reason with him, to appease him, to listen to him, then these modern-day Neville Chamberlains are ignoring the warnings of the story: the appetites of autocrats are endless.
Republicans have insisted for months that they would not vote to provide military assistance to Ukraine unless Congress – or President Biden – also took action to quell a wave of migration to across the southwest border. But when the failure of the border bill refocused the debate on Ukraine, a subgroup of Republicans pivoted and got behind aid to kyiv.
“I know it has become very fashionable in some circles to neglect the global interests that we have as a world power, to bemoan the responsibilities of global leadership,” Senator Mitch McConnell, Republican of Kentucky and minority leader. the anti-Ukraine faction of his party. “This is pointless work for idle minds, and it has no place in the United States Senate.”
Republican opponents of the bill also demanded the opportunity to propose proposals to modify it, but as of Monday afternoon, Democrats and Republicans had not been able to reach an agreement to do so.
“We haven’t even been able to come up with a single amendment while we wait,” Senator Mike Lee, Republican of Utah, complained Monday in a long tirade, arguing that the process was “not fair “.