Adam S. Olsen- Washington, D.C.
February 9, 2024

The foreign aid supplemental spending package for Ukraine, Israel and Taiwan now stands between the Senate and a two-week President’s Day recess.  Yesterday, the Senate cleared a critical hurdle toward passing the $95 billion national security-focused bill aimed at fortifying Ukraine, Israel and other allies, voting to move to debate an issue that has divided Republicans for months with a 67-32 vote, well above the 60-vote bar needed to advance most legislation in the chamber.  Seventeen Republicans backed the measure, along with all but one member of the Democratic caucus.  Today, the Senate would need all 100 lawmakers to agree to speed things up, but Senator Rand Paul (R-Kentucky) repeatedly said Thursday he won’t let that happen as he wants amendment votes on border security.  Among other things, Senate Republicans are insisting on the opportunity to add border restrictions to the package, despite having voted Wednesday to block a version of the legislation that included a bipartisan package of border restrictions. They spent much of Thursday haggling over which changes to seek.

The Senate’s next vote could be around 7 P.M. tonight when Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-New York) will likely file cloture on a substitute amendment to trigger the end of debate on the bill.  But still more time must run off the clock after that.  The Senate is expected to remain in session into the weekend as the state of play remains fluid.

The House will reconvene on Tuesday, February 13th for votes.

Adam S. Olsen, Washington, D.C.