A $95.34 billion bill that includes aid for Ukraine, Israel and Taiwan has advanced in the US Senate on Thursday after Republicans blocked compromise legislation that included a long-sought overhaul of immigration policy.
Senators backed a procedural motion by 67-32, exceeding the 60-vote threshold to advance the bill. Seventeen Republicans voted in favor, in a surprising shift after they blocked the broader bill on Wednesday.
“This is a good first step. This bill is essential for our national security, for the security of our friends in Ukraine, in Israel, for humanitarian aid for innocent civilians in Gaza, and for Taiwan,” Schumer says in the Senate after the vote.
There was no immediate word on when the 100-member chamber would consider final passage, as some senators said they expected to remain in session during the weekend if necessary.
“We are going to keep working on this bill until the job is done,” Schumer says.
The Democratic-led Senate took up the security aid bill after Republicans on Wednesday blocked a broader measure that also included reforms of border security and immigration policy that a bipartisan group of senators had negotiated for months.
The security aid bill includes $61 billion for Ukraine as it battles a Russian invasion, $14 billion for Israel in its war against Hamas and $4.83 billion to support partners in the Indo-Pacific, including Taiwan, and deter aggression by China.
It also would provide $9.15 billion in humanitarian assistance to civilians in Gaza and the West Bank, Ukraine and other populations in conflict zones around the globe.
The Senate is expected to take days to agree on a final version of the security aid package, with some Republicans continuing to push for amendments. Supporters of Ukraine have been struggling for much of the past year to find a way to send more money to help Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky’s government.
Even if the aid bill eventually passes the Senate, it faces uncertainty in the House of Representatives. Dozens of Republican House members, particularly those most closely allied with former US president Donald Trump, have voted against Ukraine aid, including Speaker Mike Johnson.
While lawmakers have approved more than $110 billion for Ukraine since Russia invaded in February 2022, Congress has not passed any major aid for Kyiv since Republicans took control of the House in January 2023.