Republicans in the U.S. Senate voted Wednesday against a measure that would have provided about $60 billion in new aid to Ukraine, sticking to their position that its approval would require radical changes to immigration policy as part of any foreign aid deal.
The Senate voted along party lines, missing the nine Republican votes needed for 60-vote passage. Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (Democrat of New York) changed his vote to “no” towards the end of the vote. This is a procedural step that allows the upper chamber to reconsider the proposal at a later date.
US President Joe Biden had said he was willing to make a “significant compromise” with Republicans to get the aid passed, joining many Democratic senators who said they would support changes to asylum policy to get the deal passed to reach.
In his White House address to the nation, Biden said: “This cannot wait.”
“Frankly, I think it’s amazing that we’ve even gotten to this point where Republicans in Congress are willing to give Putin the greatest gift he could possibly ask for,” Biden said before a portrait of President Franklin D. Roosevelt from the World War II era, AFP noted.
“If he goes ahead and then attacks a NATO ally … then we’ll have something that we don’t want and that we don’t have today: American troops fighting Russian troops.”
Meanwhile, the US State Department said it would provide a pre-approved $175 million aid tranche to Kyiv, in a package that includes HIMARS missiles as well as other missiles and munitions.
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ANALYSIS: Cracks in Western support present Ukraine with a new challenge
Hopes that Ukraine could recapture its south and east from Putin’s troops faded in the summer. Kiev now faces diplomatic challenges as support from key allies in the US and EU is questioned.
The Pentagon had previously noted that nearly $6 billion in approved aid remains for Kyiv, which the White House and congressional Democrats have warned will soon run out if Capitol Hill does not quickly reinstate the measure.
Source : www.kyivpost.com