Senate passes $95 billion aid package for Ukraine, Israel, but tough path ahead in House

Speaker Johnson rejected the bill, suggesting it won't get a vote in the House.

February 13, 2024, 5:49 PM

A $95 billion aid package for Ukraine, Israel and Taiwan passed by the Senate 70-29 early Tuesday now faces an uncertain fate in the House.

Twenty-two Senate Republicans voted for the aid -- that includes $60 billion for Ukraine -- defying former President Donald Trump who strongly opposed it.

Trump, whose earlier opposition to the national security supplemental that included border security provisions led to its demise, criticized the foreign aid bill, saying in a social media post over the weekend that the United States should only lend money to foreign allies.

Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., a national security hawk who once supported the aid, voted no on the bill Tuesday and echoed Trump's comments that any such aid should be a loan -- even though much of the money would go to American companies to replenish U.S. arms supplies sent to Ukraine.

House Speaker Mike Johnson, in a statement Monday night, strongly suggested he may not put the Senate bill on the floor for debate or a vote because it does not address the southern border. The Senate agreement did not include any additional money for the southern border after an attempt to pair them collapsed last week.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said Tuesday that he hopes to impress on Johnson how urgent it is for the House to act on the bill. Schumer said he hopes to speak to Johnson directly in the coming days.

PHOTO: Charles Schumer (D-NY) speaks on the National Security Supplemental Bill during a press conference at the U.S. Capitol on February 13, 2024 in Washington, DC.
Charles Schumer (D-NY) speaks on the National Security Supplemental Bill during a press conference at the U.S. Capitol on February 13, 2024 in Washington, DC. The bill, which received contentious debate and months of negotiations in the Senate, provides military aid to Ukraine, Israel and Taiwan but is expected to be received with uncertainty in the House of Representatives.
Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images

"My message [to Johnson] is this is a rare moment where history is looking upon the United States and seeing if we will stand up for our values, stand up to bullies like Putin and do the right thing," Schumer said. "I will say to Speaker Johnson I am confident that there's a large majority in the House who will vote for this bill. I am confident there are many Republicans in his caucus, I know I've spoken to a whole bunch of them who feels strongly we ought to pass this bill and I will urge Speaker Johnson to step up to the moment and do the right thing."

Schumer said House Republicans would be giving a "enormous gift to Vladimir Putin" if they do not act.

"The responsibility now falls on Speaker Johnson and House Republicans to approve this bill swiftly. And I call on Speaker Johnson to rise to the occasion. To do the right thing. Bring this bill to the floor. As I said, given the large majority, robust majority here in the Senate it is clear that if that bill was brought to the floor, our bill is brought to the floor, it will pass. But if the hard-right kills this bill, it would be an enormous gift to Vladimir Putin."

Schumer was asked a number of questions about possible House amendments to this package. While he didn't fully rule out considering a House-amended version of the bill, he did repeatedly state that he believes the House ought to pass the Senate version.

Asked if the he would view a House amendment to the national security supplemental changing the payments to Ukraine and Israel to loans as a non-starter -- per Trump's suggestion, Schumer said "we ought to stick with this bill."

"I mean, no one even knows how this loan program would work. Because Donald Trump says something doesn't mean Republicans should march in lockstep to do it," Schumer said.

In a speech at the White House Tuesday afternoon, President Joe Biden said the House should "immediately" vote on the Senate bill.

"I urge Speaker Johnson to bring it to the floor immediately, immediately," Biden said. "There's no question that if the Senate bill was put on the floor in the House of Representatives, it would pass. It would pass. And the speaker knows that."

Biden said it's a "critical act for the House to move on" and must be done soon to show that America can be "trusted."

"This bipartisan bill sends a clear message to Ukrainians, and to our partners and, to our allies around the world. America can be trusted," the president said. "America can be relied upon. And America stands up for freedom. We stand strong for our allies, we never bow down to anyone and certainly not to Vladimir Putin. So, let's get on with this."

The White House warned Tuesday that failure by the House to pass additional aid for Israel and Ukraine would call into question American leadership on the world stage.

"It sends messages not just to allies and partners, but to potential adversaries as well, that the United States can't be counted on. That we're not interested in being a leader on the world stage," National Security Communications Advisor John Kirby told ABC News' Mary Bruce.

Israel is in a fight literally for their lives and the Ukrainians are too for their democracy. So, I think it sends a strong signal to the whole world ... that perhaps certain members of Congress aren't willing to show and demonstrate the kind of American leadership on the world stage that President Biden has," Kirby added.

After the vote, Schumer praised the bipartisan effort that led to the bill's passage.

"These past few months have been a great test for the U.S. Senate, to see if we could escape the centrifugal pull of partisanship and summon the will to defend Western Democracy when it mattered most," Schumer said in brief remarks on Senate floor. "This morning, the Senate has resoundingly passed the test."

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, who voted to advance the bill, issued a statement praising the passage as an affirmation "reaffirming a commitment to rebuild and modernize our military, restore our credibility, and give the current commander in chief, as well as the next, more tools to secure our interest."

"History settles every account," McConnell added. "And today, on the value of American leadership and strength, history will record that the Senate did not blink."

ABC News' Lauren Peller, Morgan Winsor, Sarah Beth Hensley and Justin Gomez contributed to this report.

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