The Senate overcame yet another procedural test on the roughly $95 billion supplemental aid package for Israel, Ukraine, and other allies Sunday, inching closer to its passage.
Working on Super Bowl Sunday, in a critical 67-27 vote, the Senate voted to end debate on whether to add the supplemental bill’s language into the shell bill the upper chamber is using to advance that legislation, surpassing the filibuster threshold.
Eighteen Republicans banded together with Democrats to advance the supplemental.
Now that the procedural hurdle has been cleared, the Senate is getting closer to an actual vote on whether or not to pass the national security measure — which is expected to take place this week.
“I can’t remember the last time the Senate was in session on Super Bowl Sunday, but as I’ve said all week long, we’re going to keep working on this bill until the job is done,” Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) said.
Last Thursday, the Senate voted to start work on the package after months of bickering over how to proceed on aid to war-torn Ukraine.
Republicans have long demanded that any new funding for Ukraine be coupled with deep border security reforms.
After Senate negotiators unveiled a sprawling reform package last week, Republicans quickly shot it down, prompting Schumer to maneuver toward a supplemental without border reform.
Republicans cited a litany of concerns, bashing the package as woefully insufficient and demanding more time to work on it. Democrats accused them of tanking it due to former President Donald Trump’s concerns about the 2024 election.
The bill that advanced on Sunday entailed roughly $61 billion for Ukraine, $14 billion for Israel, and $4.83 billion for Indo-Pacific allies, as well as language to address the fentanyl crisis.
“It’s no exaggeration to say that the eyes of the world are on the United States Senate,” Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said.
“We don’t wield American strength frivolously. We do it because it’s in our own interest.”
McConnell has been a strong proponent of additional aid to Ukraine and has endured calls for his ouster from some firebrands such as Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas).
The Pentagon has estimated that funds for Ukraine have effectively run dry.
German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, who visited Washington last week, urged Congress to advance the package.
“The failure of the United States Congress, if it occurs, not to support Ukraine, is close to criminal neglect. It is outrageous,” Scholz said during a White House visit. “So much is at stake. So, they better step up.”
President Biden had asked Congress to re-up funding for Ukraine last August, but Congress has been gridlocked from doing so for months.
“If America doesn’t assist Ukraine, Putin is all too likely to succeed, as President Zelensky repeatedly has reminded us. The only right answer to this threat is for the Senate to face it down unflinchingly by passing this bill as soon as soon as we can,” Schumer added.
Should the supplemental pass the Senate, it will face an uncertain future in the House of Representatives.
Last week, the lower chamber failed to overcome the two-third vote threshold needed to advance a standalone $17.6 billion Israel support bill while bypassing the House Rules Committee.