Biden Signs $95B Foreign Aid Package

President Joe Biden | Anna Moneymaker / Staff/Getty Images

President Joe Biden has signed into law the $95 billion foreign aid package passed by the Senate on Tuesday — the bulk of which is earmarked for Ukraine — paving the way for weapons and ammunition shipments to Ukraine to begin in the next few hours.

The bill was passed in a 79-18 vote, with a majority of Republicans backing an aid package that includes $60 billion for Ukraine, over $26 billion for Israel and Gaza, and a further $8 billion to confront China in the Indo-Pacific, as reported by The Wall Street Journal.

Biden said the Pentagon is prepared to rush ammunition and air defenses to Ukraine within hours, and the U.S. will “surge” food, water, and other needed emergency supplies to Gaza. Biden added that Israel “must make sure all this aid reaches Palestinians in Gaza without delay,” as Axios reported.

The U.S. Senate passed the package of taxpayer funds after a vote ended the debate on amendments and headed off the prospect of a filibuster. Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) had encouraged other senators to join him in an effort to defeat the vote by filibuster, but his suggestion was soundly defeated in an initial vote to limit amendments and the filibuster.

“In a resounding bipartisan vote, the relentless work of six long months has paid off,” Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) announced on the Senate floor in celebration of the inevitable final passage, per WSJ.

U.S. Senator John Cornyn (R-TX) spoke for the hawkish faction of Republicans when he justified his vote for the measure. Ukraine has become a bitter point of contention for Republican lawmakers, who are seemingly split nearly evenly into war-hawk and anti-war camps.

“This has been a historic line of division between Americans — those who see anything that we do overseas as somehow neglecting our responsibilities at home,” said Cornyn, as reported by WSJ. “The truth is, we need to be able to do both.”

The anti-war camp, which is identified with former President Donald Trump, shed some of its supporters in the chamber when some of the senators took Trump’s softened stance on Ukraine aid as an indication that it was safe to switch sides.

That was the assessment of Sen. Markwayne Mullin (R-OK) in explaining why he switched his vote to yes after voting no in February.

“Our approach this time was to make sure that the politics are set, meaning that President Trump was on board, it’s something that could be passable, it’s something that could be explained,” he said.

Sen. J.D. Vance (R-OH), however, remained steadfast that more aid to Ukraine was a waste of money and could not prevent Russia from winning the war.

“At the end of the day, most of the money in this package goes to a war where there’s no end in sight, there’s no strategy, and we simply don’t have the munitions to fundamentally change the reality on the ground,” Vance said.

Even before the final tally, but when it was clear the bill had garnered the votes to pass, Mike Lee took to X to express his disappointment with his colleagues, stating:

“They think they’re Churchill. They’re congratulating themselves for spending money that doesn’t belong to them — money we don’t have and will have to borrow and print. Spending other people’s money to fight someone else’s war — against their will — isn’t heroic. It’s cowardice.”

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