The Senate is currently engaged in the process of passing a $95.3 billion foreign aid bill designed to provide assistance to Ukraine and Israel.
However, the final vote may be delayed for several days as GOP Senator Rand Paul from Kentucky has expressed his intention to use intricate and convoluted chamber rules to impede the swift passage of the bill.
Although the Senate successfully surpassed a crucial 60-vote threshold to advance the bill on Thursday, the absence of unanimous consent among all 100 senators to expedite the proceedings is expected to lead to extended deliberations.
Consequently, the Senate is anticipated to work through the weekend, with the final vote likely to take place next week. Senator Paul, committed to utilizing procedural tactics to prolong discussions, conveyed his stance, stating, “I think we should stay here as long as it takes.
If it takes a week or a month, I’ll force them to stay here to discuss why they think the border of Ukraine is more important than the US border,” during an interview with CNN’s Manu Raju.
Despite earlier complications, lawmakers are moving forward with the foreign aid bill. This decision follows the obstruction of a broader bill, combining foreign aid with a bipartisan border deal, by Republicans.
The initial demand for border security to be integrated into the bill eventually resulted in the rejection of the bipartisan deal, influenced by criticisms from former President Donald Trump and leading House Republicans.
Prior to the final vote on the foreign aid package, additional procedural votes, including one scheduled for Friday evening, are expected. If the Senate approves the bill, it will proceed to the House.
The timeline and likelihood of a vote in the House, led by Speaker Mike Johnson, remain uncertain, given the opposition of many House Republicans to further aid for Ukraine.
The foreign aid package encompasses significant allocations, including billions of dollars to support Ukraine in its conflict with Russia, $14.1 billion in security assistance for Israel, $9.2 billion in humanitarian aid for civilians in Gaza, the West Bank, and Ukraine, as well as $4.8 billion to assist regional partners in the Indo-Pacific region, among other provisions, according to the Senate Appropriations Committee.
Within the Senate, Republicans are divided on the foreign aid package, with some advocating for amendments to address issues related to immigration and border policy.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer characterized Thursday’s vote to advance the bill as a “good first step” and expressed hope for bipartisan cooperation on amendments.
He emphasized the commitment to continue working on the bill until its completion, highlighting the significance of the proposed foreign aid to Ukraine and Israel, as well as humanitarian assistance in various regions.