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10 Senators Aid Advancement of Ukraine Assistance Despite Previous Opposition

Nine Republicans and one Democrat in the Senate shifted their stance on Tuesday, voting to advance a comprehensive package that includes aid for Ukraine and Israel, among other provisions. This procedural vote marked an outstanding departure from their previous opposition to the legislation earlier this year.

The package, which garnered an 80-19 vote in favor of advancing, encompasses $61 billion for Ukraine, $26 billion for Israel and global humanitarian assistance, and $8 billion for allies in the Indo-Pacific region.

It also includes measures related to national security, including the potential prohibition of the social media platform TikTok or its forced divestment.

US and Ukraine (Credits: Vecteezy)

Among the Republicans who reversed their stance were Senators Katie Britt, Tom Cotton, Deb Fischer, Lindsey Graham, Cindy Hyde-Smith, James Lankford, Markwayne Mullin, Pete Ricketts, and Tim Scott. These senators had previously voted against advancing the legislation in February and also opposed its final passage.

Sen. Peter Welch, the lone Democrat in this group, also voted to advance the package on Tuesday, despite previously voting against its final passage in February. His spokesperson clarified that Welch’s decision was driven by his desire for the Senate to engage in robust deliberation.

Sen. John Thune, the top Republican vote counter, indicated that the vote totals were expected to remain largely unchanged for the final vote later in the day.

He attributed the shift in some senators’ positions to various factors, including former President Trump’s support and recent geopolitical developments such as Iran’s attack on Israel and Ukraine’s struggle against Russian aggression.

USA and Ukraine flag (Credits: Gallup News)

The inclusion of measures like the REPO Act, supported by Trump, and modifications to the aid package played a role in swaying some senators. Sen. Markwayne Mullin emphasized Trump’s involvement in garnering Republican support for the bill.

While most of the nine Republicans indicated their intention to vote “yes” on final passage, Sen. Welch was among the few Democrats who voted against the measure in February. Senators Jeff Merkley and Bernie Sanders, who caucus with Democrats, voted against advancing the bill due to its unconditional aid for Israel.

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