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27 Nov, 2023 05:54

US Senate announces vote on Ukraine aid

The White House is trying to push through $106bn in funding for Ukraine, Israel and Taiwan
US Senate announces vote on Ukraine aid

US Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer announced on Sunday that he will hold a vote on President Joe Biden’s request for billions of dollars in assistance for Ukraine and Israel during the first week of December.

The Biden administration has so far failed to push through its supplementary “national security” proposal of roughly $106 billion for combined aid for Israel, Ukraine and Taiwan.

According to Schumer , “the biggest holdup” to passing the package is Republican insistence on US border security policy changes, which they have set as a condition for sending any additional funds to Ukraine.

“One of the most important tasks we must finish is taking up and passing a funding bill to ensure we as well as our friends and partners in Ukraine, Israel, and the Indo-Pacific region have the necessary military capabilities to confront and deter our adversaries and competitors,” Schumer said in a letter to senators on Sunday.

The lawmaker warned that Ukraine is likely to lose the fight against Russia without further funding from the US, urging senators to attend a classified briefing in the coming days to get updated on the situation.

However, Rep. Mike Turner (R-Ohio), the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, said on Sunday that it is unlikely that the aid package for Ukraine and Israel will be approved before the year's end, citing the southern border policies as an obstacle to passing the bill.

“I think it would be very difficult to get it done by the end of the year and the impediment, currently, is the White House policy on the southern border,” he said on NBC’s Meet the Press, further explaining that the White House needs to recognise it as a priority threat to US national security.

In early November, House Republicans passed an Israel-only aid deal of 14.3 billion, which, according to Chuck Schumer, was “deeply flawed” and would not be taken up by the Senate. The White House has also indicated that the bill will not be signed by President Biden if it includes Israel only. Biden, however, was recently forced to sign a stopgap funding plan excluding Ukraine assistance, to avert a government shutdown.

Since the start of the Russia-Ukraine conflict last year, Washington has provided Kiev with more than $76 billion in military and other assistance, but recently said that available funds were running out.

Russia has repeatedly warned the West against supplying Ukraine with arms, arguing that this will only prolong hostilities and make it a direct participant in the conflict.