08:30 07 Dec 2023

US Senate Republicans block Ukraine and Israel aid bill

Photo Reuters

In a procedural vote, the Republican minority in the US Senate blocked a bill for additional funding that included assistance for Ukraine and Israel. They justified this by citing the absence of provisions on changes to border policy. 

US President Joe Biden responded, calling it political blackmail, Rubryka reports, referring to Reuters.

According to procedural rules, the bill needed at least 60 votes to proceed for further consideration. It received support from 49 senators, while 51 voted against it.

Notably, independent Senator Bernie Sanders joined the 49 Republicans. Majority Leader Chuck Schumer voted "against" to have the opportunity to reintroduce the document for consideration.

Before the procedural vote, Senator Schumer expressed confusion over Republicans essentially holding assistance to Ukraine hostage to advance their own intra-party interests without room for compromise.

"Why delay aid to Ukraine if they can't even present a border package that can pass the Senate?" said the Democratic leader.

US President Joe Biden reacted to the failure of the procedural vote on aid to Ukraine in the US Senate, calling it political blackmail.

Commenting on the Republican Party's refusal to support the congressional bill for extra funds to guarantee national security, which includes aid to Ukraine, Joe Biden said the stakes are too high.

"Republicans in Congress are threatening to cut off support for Ukraine unless they can force through their extreme partisan border policies. It's political blackmail, pure and simple," said Biden on X. "The stakes are too high and the consequences are too significant for political brinksmanship."

Ukrainian Ambassador to the US, Oksana Markarova, also commented on the Senate vote on Ukraine aid. She noted that this block did not rule out the possibility of reintroducing the bill for a vote in the near future.

"What does this mean for Ukraine? In all meetings, senators assured us that today's vote is not against Ukraine. The internal political events happening in the US Congress will not affect the support for our country, which will be extended through bipartisan backing. So, we continue active work with our colleagues, and based on very productive meetings these days, we hope that before Christmas, Congress will support a coordinated package that includes defense, budgetary, humanitarian, and energy assistance for Ukraine in 2024," said Markarova.

As reported earlier, in October of this year, the White House requested about $106 billion from the US Congress for Ukraine, Israel, and other priority areas.

Debates are reportedly ongoing in the US Congress about strengthening the border with Mexico. Republicans have issued a demand, threatening not to support funding for Ukraine unless immigration legislation is adopted.

However, US State Department spokesperson Matthew Miller emphasized that Ukraine was on the brink of a challenging winter period, and the US must support its partner.

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