The Senate is making a last-gasp push toward approving wartime funding for Ukraine and other U.S. allies
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Senate on Thursday made a last-gasp push toward approving wartime funding for Ukraine and other U.S. allies, but deep doubts remained about the level of support from Republicans who have rejected a carefully negotiated compromise on border enforcement policies.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., has tried to salvage $60 billion in aid for Ukraine, as well as roughly $35 billion for Israel, other allies and national security priorities, after the collapse earlier this week of a bipartisan agreement to tie border enforcement policies to the package. But Republicans are divided about how to proceed, and GOP leaders were still scrambling to find a plan that their senators could back.
It left Senate Republicans fractured and frustrated just as Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky is trying to find a way to squeeze the assistance for Ukraine through Congress. Even if the measure passes the Senate, it is expected to be even more difficult to win approval in the Republican-controlled House, where Speaker Mike Johnson, R-La., has been noncommittal on the aid.
The impasse leaves the United States out of money for now to send missiles and ammunition to Kyiv, just as the nearly 2-year-old war reaches a crucial juncture. Ukraine supporters say the drop-off in U.S. support is already being felt on the battlefield and by civilians. Russia has renewed its commitment to the invasion with relentless attacks.
“There are people in Ukraine right now, in the height of their winter, in trenches, being bombed and being killed,” said Sen. Thom Tillis, R-N.C.
Yet many of his Republican colleagues have expressed serious reservations about supporting a new round of funding for Ukraine. Even after rejecting the bipartisan border plan, they have again insisted on tying border measures to the foreign aid.
“My priority is border security. It’s always been border security. I think we need a new bill,” said Sen. Roger Marshall, R-Kan.
It took Senate negotiators roughly three months of round-the-clock work to craft the border proposal rejected by Republican senators — some of whom announced their opposition within minutes of the bill text being released.
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