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US Senate majority leader to push Ukraine, Israel aid bill stripped of US border security provisions

US Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer intends to advance a pared-down aid package for Israel and Ukraine, omitting border security provisions, in response to Republican resistance against a comprehensive bipartisan bill, per NBC News.
Congress of the United States.
The Congress of the United States. Photo: president.gov.ua

On 7 February, Majority Leader Chuck Schumer told US Senate Democrats he plans to force a vote on an Israel and Ukraine aid package stripped of border security provisions after Republicans made clear they would block a move to take up the entire bipartisan border security and foreign aid bill in the afternoon, a Senate Democratic aide told NBC News.

The US has been Ukraine’s biggest financial supporter amid Russia’s invasion, yet the Pentagon has depleted Ukraine aid funds by the end of 2023, while US Congressional Republicans have been stalling the approval of new aid funding for Ukraine and Israel for months. The lack of military aid degrades Ukraine’s military capabilities, benefitting Russia.

If Shumer’s procedural motion gets 60 votes needed for adoption on February 7 evening, it will pave the way for a later vote this week on whether to proceed with the legislative framework for the supplemental aid package, including assistance for Ukraine, Israel, and Taiwan.

The second vote, concerning the motion to proceed with the more targeted aid package, is anticipated to occur shortly after the initial procedural vote on the comprehensive border and aid legislation later today, as per information from the Senate aide to NBC News.

US Senate minority leader, Mitch McConnell, who backed the bipartisan border security bill, expressed support for a vote on the supplemental aid bill without border provisions during a press conference on 6 February, NBC News said.

Earlier, after months of negotiations, US Senate lawmakers released a bill on the comprehensive aid package that includes $14 billion in assistance for Israel, $60 billion for Ukraine, and $4.83 billion for Indo-Pacific nations, $10 billion for humanitarian aid benefiting civilians in Gaza, the West Bank, Ukraine, and other countries, along with $20 billion allocated for US border funds. But Senate Republicans made it clear that they would block the comprehensive aid bill.

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