WASHINGTON: A narrowly divided US Senate will try to move closer to passing a $95.34 billion aid package for Ukraine, Israel and Taiwan on Sunday, while hoping to show enough bipartisan support to propel the measure all the way through Congress.
The legislation needs 60 votes to overcome a procedural hurdle and continue toward Senate passage in the coming days.
It could move more quickly if Democrats and Republicans reach an agreement to fast-track the measure, though even then it will face stiff opposition in the Republican-controlled House of Representatives.
The money is viewed a crucial by Kyiv as it grinds toward the second anniversary of a Russian invasion.
Democratic President Joe Biden, who has been seeking the aid for months on Friday said Congress would be guilty of “neglect” if it failed to pass the measure. Voting is expected to begin around 1 p.m. EST (1800 GMT).
House Speaker Mike Johnson, who has a slim 219-212 Republican majority, has indicated he could try to split the aid provisions into separate measures, once the bill arrives from the Senate.
But a standalone aid bill for Israel fell victim in the House last week to opposition from Democrats who favor the broader Senate legislation and from hardline Republicans who wanted compensating spending cuts in a pair of humiliating defeats for Johnson.
During a visit to Kyiv on Friday, a bipartisan delegation of House lawmakers vowed to do their part to pass the measure.
Senate Republicans believe bipartisan passage would help stir support among Republicans in the House.
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“It will shape the environment such that more Republicans will feel comfortable advancing the bill,” Senator Todd Young, an Indiana Republican, told reporters.
The Senate legislation overcame a major procedural step last week, passing by 67 to 32 votes, with 17 Republicans crossing the aisle to support the measure.