Senate passes $95 billion package for aid to Ukraine, Israel and Taiwan after months of delay

Apr 30, 2024, 12:10 PM | Updated: 12:11 pm

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer speaks to reporters on Capitol Hill on April 17. The Senate wi...

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer speaks to reporters on Capitol Hill on April 17. The Senate will take up the House-passed $95 billion foreign aid package this week. (Andrew Harnik, Getty Images)

(Andrew Harnik, Getty Images)

Washington (CNN)The Senate on Tuesday passed a long-delayed $95 billion package with wide bipartisan support after both sides of Capitol Hill have struggled for months to send aid to Ukraine, Israel and Taiwan.

The final vote was 79-18. Fifteen Republicans voted with three Democrats against the bill. Forty-eight Democrats and 31 Republicans voted for the bill.

The legislation next goes to President Joe Biden to sign it into law, who said he would sign the package Wednesday. Its passage is a significant victory for the US president, congressional Democrats and Senate GOP leader Mitch McConnell, who long pushed to send aid to Ukraine even as the right wing of his party increasingly soured on support for Kyiv.

Just ahead of the final passage, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer began his brief remarks with “finally, finally, finally.”

“Tonight, may Vladimir Putin regret the day he questioned American resolve,” he said.

The package ties together four bills that the House voted on separately in a rare Saturday session, providing nearly $61 billion in aid for Ukraine, over $26 billion for the Israel-Hamas conflict – including $15 billion in Israeli military aid, $9 billion in humanitarian aid for Gaza and $2.4 billion for regional US military operations – and more than $8 billion for the Indo-Pacific. The first three bills are very similar to the package that the Senate passed earlier this year, which House Speaker Mike Johnson had originally refused to bring to the House floor.

The fourth bill increases sanctions on Russian assets and contains language that could lead to a ban on TikTok in the US. It gives Chinese parent company ByteDance roughly nine months to sell TikTok, or the app will be banned from American app stores.

Biden applauded the Senate passage of the legislation in a written statement.

“I will sign this bill into law and address the American people as soon as it reaches my desk tomorrow so we can begin sending weapons and equipment to Ukraine this week,” Biden said. “The need is urgent: for Ukraine, facing unrelenting bombardment from Russia; for Israel, which just faced unprecedented attacks from Iran; for refugees and those impacted by conflicts and natural disasters around the world, including in Gaza, Sudan, and Haiti; and for our partners seeking security and stability in the Indo-Pacific.”

The president also thanked Schumer, McConnell and the bipartisan group of lawmakers who voted for the bill.

“This critical legislation will make our nation and world more secure as we support our friends who are defending themselves against terrorists like Hamas and tyrants like Putin,” Biden said.

The House took up the legislation after Johnson bucked conservatives in his party who opposed sending aid to Ukraine and threatened to oust him over his handling of the issue. In the end, the legislation was sent out of the House by a broad bipartisan margin.

Aid for Ukraine and Israel has been stalled after House and Senate Republicans demanded action on border security first, leading to months of negotiations in the Senate on a border package tied to foreign aid. However, former President Donald Trump led the opposition to the final deal, and Republicans ultimately discarded it.

McConnell, who has consistently broken with his party over backing Ukraine, described Tuesday’s vote as “overdue” and “a test, and we must not fail it.”

“Here’s what I know to be true: American prosperity and security are the products of decades of American leadership,” McConnell said. “Our global interests come with global responsibilities. Healthy alliances lighten the burden of these responsibilities.”

Schumer took a victory lap following passage of the foreign aid legislation.

“You can get things done and I hope our Republican colleagues have learned that lesson not to listen to the hard right, but to try and work and get things done,” the New York Democrat said in a news conference.

Schumer defended not allowing amendments – including one by Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders – to be voted on, saying, “We had to get this bill done as quickly as possible.”

In the same vein, Schumer defended the addition of legislation targeting TikTok.

“Speaker Johnson put it in the bill – in the big supplemental bill, and we had to get the supplemental bill passed as quickly as possible,” he said.

He also said he left a message for the Ukrainian president following the vote.

“I left a message for President Zelensky tonight – he had called me the other day – and said ‘Okay, we got it done. Now go win the fight,’” Schumer said.

When pressed on how long the funding to Ukraine would last and when he believes they will have to come back for more, Schumer said, “It’s a very full package” as he left the room.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky praised the Senate’s passage of the foreign aid package.

“I am grateful to the United States Senate for approving vital aid to Ukraine today,” he said in a post on X on Tuesday.

The legislation underscores the US’ support for Ukraine, Zelensky said, adding that the aid will bolster the country’s defense and military capabilities on the battlefield.

“This vote reinforces America’s role as a beacon of democracy and the leader of the free world,” he said. “Ukraine’s long-range capabilities, artillery, and air defense are critical tools for restoring just peace sooner.”

This story and headline have been updated with additional developments.

CLARIFICATION: This story has been updated to more precisely describe the aid bill and what it supports in Israel and Gaza during the ongoing conflict.

CNN’s Manu Raju and Kristin Wilson contributed to this report.

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Senate passes $95 billion package for aid to Ukraine, Israel and Taiwan after months of delay