US Senate majority leader calls $95 billion aid bill for Israel and others ‘a down payment on democracy’

It’s uncertain whether the bill will pass the House of Representatives which hasn’t approved a major funding bill including Ukraine since the Republicans became the majority in 2023.

By Vered Weiss, World Israel News

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) urged his colleagues in the Senate to “finish the job” and approve a bill allocating $95.34 billion in aid to Israel, Ukraine, and Taiwan, with humanitarian assistance for Gaza, and called the funding “a down payment on the survival of Western democracy.”

There is no indication whether the bill will pass in the House of Representatives, which hasn’t approved a major funding bill for Ukraine since the Republicans became the majority in 2023.  However, the bill showed promise in a 67-27 vote, with the support of 18 of the Senate’s 49 Republicans.

Democrat Chuck Schumer expressed confidence that the bill could overcome procedural hurdles and pass on Wednesday.

“These are enormously high stakes of the national security package. Our security, our values, our democracy. It’s a down payment for the survival of Western democracy and the survival of Western values,” he said.

Schumer continued, “By now, we have taken numerous procedural votes that prove beyond doubt that there’s strong support behind this bill. It’s time to finish the job and get this critical bill passed.”

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“If we want the world to remain a safe place for freedom, for democratic principles, for American prosperity, then elected leaders need to put in the work to make that happen,” Schumer said.

He concluded, “The entire world will remember what the Senate does in the next few days.”

After back-to-back Saturday and Sunday sessions to discuss the bill, Senator Rand Paul challenged it with a filibuster  on Monday and said he refused to support it because of concerns it would further expand the national debt.

House Speaker Mike Johnson has not voted in favor of aid for Ukraine in the past, but last week unveiled a House bill providing $17.6 billion to Israel without the inclusion of other countries funded by the Senate bill.

Last week, White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre strongly condemned the House bill, stating that it was just a “political game.”

The White House statement continued, “We strongly oppose this ploy which does nothing to secure the border, does nothing to help the people of Ukraine defend themselves against Putin’s aggression, and denies humanitarian assistance to Palestinian civilians, the majority of them women and children, which the Israelis supported by opening the access route.”