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Ukraine aid bill blocked in US Senate

The bill worth $110.5bn failed to get 60 votes to begin debate. 

Ukraine aid bill blocked in US Senate

A bill that would have provided new security assistance to Ukraine and Israel has been blocked in the US Senate, Reuters reports

The bill was blocked as Republicans insisted on their demands to strengthen immigration control measures on the US border with Mexico.

45 senators voted in favour and 48 against. Thus, the bill worth $110.5 billion failed to receive 60 votes. This was necessary to start discussing the bill.

The bill was voted down by Republicans and Bernie Sanders, who usually votes with Democrats but expressed concern about funding Israel's "ongoing inhumane military strategy" against the Palestinians.

"Today's vote is what the leader of the Democratic Party needs to acknowledge that Republicans in the Senate mean what we say. Then let's vote. And then let's finally start implementing America's national security priorities, including right here at home," said Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell.

What is the situation with US aid to Ukraine?

  • On 20 October, the administration of US President Joe Biden submitted a request to Congress for $106 billion, of which about $61.1 billion is intended for military support for Ukraine. The package also includes aid to Israel ($14.3 billion), funding for Taiwan, and funds for the US border.
  • However, Congress has not yet voted on this funding. Some Republicans are sceptical about the idea of giving Ukraine new aid, and some would prefer to help only on a humanitarian basis, the Wall Street Journal wrote in October.
  • Pat Ryder, a spokesman for the US Department of Defence, said that the United States had almost $6 billion in military aid for Ukraine.
  • The head of the Presidential Administration, Andriy Yermak, said that the Ukrainian delegation had discussed a plan for Ukraine's victory over Russia with Republican representatives in Congress.
  • Volodymyr Zelenskyy was scheduled to address the US Senate, but his speech was cancelled due to a quarrel between Republicans and Democrats over funding for border protection with Mexico.
  • Meanwhile, Ukraine is asking to extend the Lend-Lease Act to 2024.
  • At the same time, given the situation with the Congressional vote, President Zelenskyy invited all US defence companies to cooperate with Ukraine. He said this in an address to the participants of the defence industry conference DFNC1: US Edition, which takes place in Washington. 
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