Morning Report — Ukraine aid advances amid NATO debate

Published February 12, 2024

President Biden’s age- and issues-based political problems are in the spotlight this week as former President Trump, juggling legal travails, strives to sway Congress, voters, NATO and the policy priorities swirling in world capitals.

Working overtime during the weekend, the Senate refused to give up on bolstering Ukraine, voting 67-27 Sunday to move another step toward approving a $95.3 billion measure to assist Kyiv’s battle with Russia, plus provide aid to Israel and Taiwan.

The Senate days ago ran aground while trying to vote on the specifics of a bipartisan border security proposal that was packaged with spending for U.S. allies, a deal that Trump said he opposes.

As a fallback, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) turned instead to colleagues on both sides of the aisle who want the U.S. to help Ukraine with arms and ammunition and to show solidarity with Israel while also backing humanitarian aid in the Middle East. The resulting measure could come to a final Senate vote this week (CNN).

Because of Trump’s opposition, House Republicans are in disarray over whether to vote on proposed migration and other border restrictions and whether and how to back Israel while separately arguing that U.S. help for Ukraine must hinge on greater accountability in Kyiv when it comes to how the U.S. aid is spent.



RELATED: Trump’s Senate backers sour on Mitch McConnell

U.S. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) speaks at the weekly Republican Caucus lunch press conference at the U.S. Capitol building in Washington, U.S., February 6, 2024. REUTERS/Amanda Andrade-Rhoades/File Photo Purchase Licensing Rights
Published February 12, 2024


The Kentucky Republican, the chamber’s longest-serving party leader at 81, has faced more heat from hardliners since Trump, the party’s likely presidential nominee, torpedoed a bipartisan deal McConnell backed that aimed to stem the flow of migrants across the U.S.-Mexico border and provide aid to Ukraine and Israel.
After party hardliners rejected that deal — which some had sought as a trade-off for the Ukraine aid — McConnell has continued to work with Democratic Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer to advance a standalone $95 billion security bill.
His willingness to work across the aisle — a practical necessity given a narrow Democratic majority — has become a liability among some of his Trump-aligned colleagues.




RELATED: Senate advances Ukraine aid over conservative blockade

Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) addresses reporters following the weekly policy luncheon on Tuesday, February 6, 2024.
Published February 12, 2024

The Senate voted for the third time in the past week to advance funding for Ukraine and Israel despite strong opposition from conservative Republicans who balked at the package not including a House-passed bill to tighten the southern border and questioned the end game for the war in Ukraine.

The Senate voted 67-27 Sunday afternoon to move the $95.3 billion package another step toward final passage, assembling in the chamber shortly before the Super Bowl kickoff.

The package includes $60 billion for Ukraine; $14 billion in security assistance for Israel; $9 billion in humanitarian assistance for Gaza, the West Bank and Ukraine; and $4.8 billion to support allies in the Indo-Pacific. It was stripped of border provisions last week after conservatives objected to a bipartisan border deal.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) remarked on the rare occasion of voting on Super Bowl Sunday but reminded colleagues of the high stakes of the moment.

“As we speak, [Russian President Vladimir Putin’s] invasion of Ukraine has rendered parts of Eastern Europe a war zone the likes of which we have not seen in those regions since the Second World War,” he said on the floor.




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Cherry May Timbol – Independent Reporter
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