The US Senate is closer to an agreement on an aid package for Ukraine and Israel

The US Senate is closer to an agreement on an aid package for Ukraine and Israel

The US Senate on Sunday moved a step closer to passing a $95.3 billion foreign aid bill to help Ukraine and Israel, following a key vote to advance the package - including the support of 18 Republicans - despite opposition from former President Donald Trump. .

The foreign aid package includes billions of dollars from the United States to support Ukraine's fight against Russia and to ensure Israel's security, as well as humanitarian aid for civilians in Gaza, the West Bank and Ukraine, CNN reported.

The vote passed with 67 votes in favor and 27 against. One more GOP senator voted yes in Sunday's procedural vote than in Thursday's procedural vote on the bill - a sign that GOP support for the measure has remained consistent and even expanded in recent days, despite Trump's lobbying efforts against foreign US aid and the previous package, which included border policy changes and funding, CNN notes.

If the bill ultimately passes the Senate, it will then go to the House, where it is unclear when or if Speaker Mike Johnson will even vote on it. Many House Republicans oppose further aid to Ukraine, and Trump is campaigning against legislation that could be seen as a victory for President Joe Biden.

The Senate worked all weekend on the bill, but a final vote could still be days away as GOP Sen. Kentucky's Rand Paul continues to slow down the process. The Upper House passed the critical 60-vote threshold to advance the bill on Thursday, held another procedural vote Friday night and held open debate on the legislation on Saturday.

But without all 100 senators agreeing to speed up the process and quickly pass the legislation, the Senate convened Sunday afternoon to take a final vote sometime this week.

“I can't remember the last time the Senate was in session on Super Bowl Sunday,” Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said. “But as I’ve said all week, we are going to continue to work on this bill until the job is done.”

Democratic Sen. J. Chris Murphy of Connecticut said on CBS's "Face the Nation" that he believes the Senate could pass a bill that includes funding for Ukraine by early to mid-week.

Lawmakers are moving forward with a foreign aid bill after Republicans blocked a broader bill that would have combined foreign aid with a bipartisan border deal. Republicans initially demanded that US border security be part of the bill but then rejected the bipartisan deal amid strong attacks on the measure from Trump and Upper House Republicans.

For his part, America's former president also wrote on Saturday in Truth Social that the US should stop providing foreign aid unless it is in the form of a loan, illustrating the political pressure on Republicans to reverse the legislation.

Rand Paul continued to press on Sunday, repeating similar comments that he would hold out until “hell freezes over.” He indicated that he was willing to keep his word when speaking on the issue of the national debt and other issues.

“I love to talk,” Paul said. “This is one of my favorite things to do. Yes, and yesterday I slept all day waiting for it.”

“We do this for a purpose,” he added. “I don't like being here... I'm not here because it's fun, I'm here because I don't think enough people are talking about the dangers of debt.”

Senate Republicans are now divided over the foreign aid package, with some pushing for changes to the bill, including adding measures related to immigration and border policy.

Schumer said Democrats hope to reach an agreement with Republicans on the amendments, although it is unclear whether a deal will be reached.

According to the Senate Appropriations Committee, the bill includes, among other things, $60 billion to support Ukraine in its fight against Russia, $14.1 billion for security assistance to Israel, $9.2 billion for humanitarian assistance and 4. $8 billion to support U.S. regional partners in the Indo-Pacific.

As the Senate continues its debate on the legislation over the weekend, advocates are calling on lawmakers to approve an amendment that would give Afghans evacuated during the U.S. troop withdrawal from Afghanistan the opportunity to obtain permanent legal residency in the United States.

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