Congress Passes Ukraine, Israel Foreign Aid Bill

A sweeping foreign aid package easily passed Congress late on Tuesday after months of delay, clearing the way for fresh Ukraine funding amid advances from Russia’s invasion force and Kyiv’s shortages of military supplies, as well as billions in aid to Israel amid its war against Hamas.

The Senate approved by 79 to 18 four bills passed by the House of Representatives on Saturday, after House Republican leaders abruptly switched course last week and allowed a vote on the $95 billion in mostly military aid for Ukraine, Israel and Taiwan and U.S. partners in the Indo-Pacific.

The four bills were combined into one package in the Senate.

The largest provides $61 billion in critically needed funding for Ukraine; a second provides $26 billion for Israel and humanitarian aid, and a third mandates $8.12 billion to “counter communist China” in the Indo-Pacific.

A fourth, which the House added to the package last week, includes a measure that gives TikTok’s Chinese owner, ByteDance, up to a year to sell the video sharing app or face a ban. It also includes measures for the transfer of seized Russian assets to Ukraine and new sanctions on Iran.

Biden has promised to sign the measure into law as soon as it reaches his desk, and his administration is already preparing a $1 billion military aid package for Ukraine, the first to be sourced from the bill, two U.S. officials told Reuters.

The Senate’s Democratic and Republican leaders predicted that Congress had turned the corner in putting Russian President Vladimir Putin and other foreign adversaries on notice that Washington will continue supporting Ukraine and other foreign partners.

“This is an inflection point in history. Western democracy perhaps faced its greatest threat since the end of the Cold War,” Democratic Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said in the Senate.

Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell, a strong advocate for assisting Ukraine, expressed regret about the delay.

“I think we’ve turned the corner on the isolationist movement,” McConnell told a news conference.

It was the second time this year that the Democratic-led Senate passed security aid for Ukraine, Israel and the Indo-Pacific. The last bill, more than two months ago, garnered 70 percent support in the 100-member chamber from Republicans and Democrats.

Original News Source – Washington Free Beacon

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