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Senate passes $40 billion in new aid to Ukraine, bill heads to Biden

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(WASHINGTON) — The Senate voted on Thursday to pass an additional $40 billion in new aid for Ukraine, after President Joe Biden called on Congress last month to deliver the additional funding, to help counter Russian President Vladimir Putin’s invasion over the long term.

In his floor remarks before the 86 -11 vote, Majority Leader Chuck Schumer noted the significance of the package.

“By passing this aid package the Senate can now say to the Ukrainian people help is on the way: real help, significant help, help that could ensure the Ukrainian people are victorious,” he said.

With the House having passed the aid package earlier this month, it will now head next to Biden’s desk.

The aid package got broad bipartisan support with some Republican holdouts. It had been stalled for several days after Republican Sen. Rand Paul’s refusal to expedite to process.

In floor remarks before Thursday’s vote, Republican Leader Mitch McConnell promised a “big bipartisan landslide” and seemed to thumb his nose at concerns from Paul and other deficit hawks about the cost of the Ukraine bill.

“Anyone concerned about the cost of supporting a Ukrainian victory should consider the much larger cost should Ukraine lose,” McConnell said as he encouraged all members to join the “big bipartisan supermajority” voting to advance the aid package.

But Schumer went further, calling out the group of Republicans who he expects will vote against the aid package.

“It appears more and more MAGA republicans are on the same soft on Putin playbook that we saw used by former President Trump,” Schumer said.

“The MAGA influence on the Republican party is becoming all too large and all too dominant. We Americans all of us Democrats and Republicans cannot afford to stick our heads in the sand while Vladimir Putin continues his vicious belligerence against the Ukrainian people while he fires at civilian hospitals and targets and kills children and innocent people,” he said.

“But when Republicans — in significant number — oppose this package that is precisely the signal, we are sending to enemies abroad,” Schumer said.

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