Ukraine aid package clears key procedural vote in US Senate

Under pressure from ex-president Donald Trump, who is running for office again and wants to exploit Joe Biden’s perceived weakness on immigration, Republicans instead appeared to decide that they would prefer stopping any border reforms until after November’s election.

But Republican senators relented in a dramatic vote on Thursday after the Democrats decoupled the Ukraine aid from the border issue entirely.


The two parties have been able to agree on little ahead of the elections. However, much of the dysfunction has been blamed directly on Trump, who looks almost certain to be the Republican standard-bearer in November despite losing the presidency to Biden in 2020 and being embroiled in multiple criminal charges.

Senate Republicans originally demanded border security as a condition for supporting pro-Western Ukraine as it battles the invasion launched by Putin in February 2022.

But Trump accuses Biden of failing to resolve the border issue, and has been loudly skeptical of Ukraine aid.

The hard-fought bipartisan compromise – combining Ukraine and Israel funding with some of the toughest immigration curbs in decades – was initially celebrated as a breakthrough on some of the most consequential issues facing the country.

However, the plan collapsed within days of its weekend release, as Trump warned lawmakers to reject it.

Then in a campaign speech Saturday, he threatened to stop defending NATO countries that fall short of spending commitments, prompting Biden to slam his “appalling and dangerous” comments and warn that the Republican intends to give Putin “a greenlight for more war and violence”.

Even if the foreign aid advances from the Senate, it would still have to pass through the much more Trump-friendly House of Representatives.

Republican House Speaker Mike Johnson has not revealed whether he would be willing even to put a foreign aid-only bill on the floor for a vote.

Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy posted on X, formerly Twitter, that the vote was a “very important first step” in freeing up more aid for his country, and a “bad day” for the Russian president.

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